Todd Williams wrote this poem shortly after the death of his father, having gone through his clothes and belongings. He writes: “I was taken with his socks, almost oddly. I knew that it wasn’t uncommon to keep clothes of a loved one after they passed, but the socks were symbolic to me, the protection for his grounding, and therefore, my grounding. They are the only article of clothing I brought back to me to my home overseas, and I still wear them. They do not guide me, but they comfort me.”
I wear my dead father’s socks.
They do not guide my steps
like quiet and steady words,
but they comfort my feet
when at rest and when I walk.
They are not new socks,
ones that barely stretch around
thickening calves and ankles
and leave deep impressions that fade
only when I sleep at night.
And they are not weathered socks
that give in to gravity and tear
with just a tug, their holes
growing after every mile walked
until my toes touch the Earth.
They are my socks now,
filling the empty space
in an unkempt and chaotic drawer,
pairs and orphans alike,
fumbling for a place in the here and now,
as if they know that one day,
they, too, will be lost in between
the desert and the ocean,
or will disappear into the deep recesses
of a dark and dusty laundry room.
Todd Williams is a former journalist from South Dakota who now works in the Middle East. He writes poetry in his free time.