Corey Mesler


I can no longer wear
the rattlesnake
you gave me.
For years, because it
was a gift, I
felt oblig­ed to put it on
over my shirt
and vest. I knew there
was always a
pos­si­bil­i­ty that it would
be the last morning
I put it on, or anything
else for that
mat­ter. Yet, I would think
of you, how you
gave it to me with such glee,
such gen­er­ous, overflowing
feel­ing, and, because
it was so near the end of us,
I sup­pose it reminded
me of you. It kept you
a lit­tle alive for me. Today
I am wear­ing a pais­ley tie
my daugh­ter gave me,
its col­ors so bright they seem
to pro­long the sunshine.
My wife says it looks very
hand­some, like some-
thing a man might wear who is
seri­ous about liv­ing, about love.



Corey Mesler has pub­lished in numer­ous jour­nals and antholo­gies. He has pub­lished four nov­els, most recent­ly Following Richard Brautigan (2010), a full length poet­ry col­lec­tion, Some Identity Problems (2008), and a book of short sto­ries, Listen: 29 Short Conversations (2009). He has been nom­i­nat­ed for the Pushcart Prize numer­ous times, and was rep­re­sent­ed in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. He runs Burke’s Book Store, one of the country’s old­est (1875) inde­pen­dent book­stores. He can be found at