I remember the time I fit these old clothes,
these familiar old skins. The armholes
the size of tin cans. The clean
white cotton hugging the creases of my body.
I recognize the tree stump I used to play in with my friends
as the light glimmered from the sky. I used to show my mother
the small island of mud on my clean white shirt
but I hid the archipelago of muck behind me.
She would later discover the ooze as it left a trail.
I would spend countless hours scrubbing, rubbing
with soap the dirty shirt but it could not attain
its former whiteness. I wore the shirt as it was
stained and a faded gray. As the years passed
the shirt shrank with my bulging arms like branches
and my growing trunk around the waist. I tried to slither
in the old shirt but it no longer fit. I tore the sides
as I tried to wriggle in like a snake shedding clothes,
I tried to fix it and patch the holes but to no avail,
I could no longer wear the white shirt. I replace
the old shirt with new ones in different colors,
black, green, blue, other whites in disparate sizes.
I wear these skins on different occasions, for
birthdays, conventions, ceremonies.
My girlfriend often tells me
“why aren’t you wearing the shirt I gave you?”
I tell her “I wore it yesterday dear maybe you
didn’t notice.” I kept it in the drawers
because I didn’t like it,
it was too flashy with its neon prints.
I stop and look sometimes at the white shirt I used to wear,
the old yellowed shirt with tattered cloth.
I kept it inside my closet to remind me
of what I once was and could be.

Joshua Berida is an Internet marketer who lives in the Philippines. He writes for a living for free. He has been published online and in print in various magazines. His blog:

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