His tarnished metal belt buckle;
bucking horse, rodeo version,
kicking state letters off its back.
It means something now,
but not what it meant
when it still held up his pants.
He knew about horses, fed them,
rode them, broke them, named them,
remembered the names, every name.
He kept the buckle long after that,
when horses were memory and offices
had his attention. Was it important,
to him, or just kept, because it reminded
her, when the box of his things was made,
and utility turned to symbolism.
If he was a horse, the letters were where he lived.
But that’s only me arranging, throwing meaning
at metal as if it could correct me. A man with a son
has all the metaphor he needs; what he was
and wasn’t, what he wanted and did not want,
what he kept and what he threw away.