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By Spencer Short

There’s nothing dandier than threadbare threads

worn by a discerning shabby dresser.

A collar’s fret or subtle fray is not lesser

because it’s worn away but models instead


the bespoke tailoring of time itself.

Done poorly—the gentleman farmer’s

piecemeal pastoral, that NoHo charmer’s

duct-taped boots—it’s like an unread bookshelf


of secondhand prose: a too-studied pose.

Done well, it draws you in to draw you near,

reveals the intricate pattern in the years’

inexorable ravel. Between decompose


and deconstruct, what seemed a foppish quirk

grows wise. Design undone. We wear time’s work.


Source: Poetry (May 2019)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living

Poet Bio

Spencer Short
Spencer Short is the author of Tremolo (HarperCollins, 2001), a winner of the National Poetry Series Open Competition. He lives and works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. See More By This Poet

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