Four Tangerines

James Kimbrell

1 In my dream an elderly man climbs through the window wearing 
   only boxers and a threadbare tank top. His hair is dripping and it 
   appears as though he swam a great distance. He opens the door to 
   my closet. “Mine!” he says, touching the white shirt. The gabardine
   suit. The green wool sweater with leather patches on the elbows 
   and shoulders. You can have them back, I say. I can give you some 
   money. “Do you have a tangerine?” he asks. “All I want is a 

2 Williams? Miller? You are born and are given a name. You are 
   clothed. One day you die in the nursing home where my mother 
   works. I walk through the tomato garden. I let the beaded water 
   shine your shoes. Your shirt is baggy and bright and spotless in the 
   sun. When I wear your clothes, is there something of the living in 
   you? Of the dead in me? Vast cities between cloth and skin? I’m 
   with my friends, standing around in the parking lot, talking before 
3 When given the assignment to write a poem in the style of your 
   favorite poet, I choose Edgar Allan Poe. The best poems will be 
   posted on the east wall of the classroom just above the desk of the 
   lovely woman child, Annabel Lee, a.k.a. Trish. Sunday night, I stare 
   at Poe’s picture in our anthology as if it were a mirror. My poem 
   is entitled, “The Consequences of Life” and is all about death, but 
   with a social message:  I think Trish should accompany me to the 
   senior dance. I think that Poe would not disagree with the exact fit 
   of a dead man’s clothes.

4 I picture you watching me as if I were a small man in a small town
   inside a snow-globe. You see the shoes you checked the mail in. The 
   pants you jitterbugged in, one December, alive, beside yourself. You 
   are so far away from me, there is no way to thank you. You do not
   know my name. I never hear yours. I think of you as “Addlestein, 
   the Memphis Taylor,” which is stitched to the inside pocket of your 
   black coat. The same coat that I wear, cutting a sharp figure, or so
   I imagine, walking home past the cornfield with its poorly attired