The Shirt (An Anecdote of Recycled Redemption)

New matter, in white, thread gleaming in dim light, a story, a tale of wearing’s now not known. What sought you this day, recycled since May, a rich man’s shirt with fiber left blood stained. St Alban’s thrift shop, for those with less than not, what just released from detox has he bought. Some slacks would be nice to go home and face the wife, her disappointment balanced with her care. His head held in grief, a drunk but not a thief, he finds his shirt and shoes, his pants with pleats. There seems now a plan to dress himself a man, to take his sober life to be complete.

There’s now this white shirt, a stitch so fine, it makes it journey hard to find. A minor washed out stain, that’s hidden and misplaced, what threads are loose are going to be okay. He wonders what king on K-Street left his queen, did she in anger draw his plasma as he ran. It matters not what, he has his own sad lot, a taste of drink has made a fallen man. He thinks of his own, his wife and child at home, his chemical need has thrown their love away. What now as he walks, by statutes and wealthy lots, the rooms of power they seem so far away. It’s all that they own, their need of power, conceals a loss of home.

He stops in Bryce Park, it’s really getting dark, he changes from his soil into his thrift shop wear. He looks to see, if his change is seen, his mind a whirl of something that is there.

What passes through his arms, a genetic like charm, from power to woe in man a place is given. Inside it so seems, what really counts is gleaned, a gift of life is evenly given. A shirt from a liege, a bullet weaned, a gift of sorts a well of royal redemption.

He turns his face gleams, unbound from chains it seems, an equal man from drunkard to a king. He makes his way home, atonement now sewn, his scar in life is seamed and now forgiven.

She waits by the way, her face alight unfazed, she knows his gait, she knows he’s seen his vision.

What road do we wear, does it seem to care, if our soul is royal or what dominion. Created the same, born to know no shame, what vice or crime you bare there still is vision. Come find your way home, wear a shirt that’s sewn, stare your breathing heart into the given.

On Monday, March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot and wounded as he exited the Washington DC Hilton Hotel after a speaking engagement. Reagan was taken to George Washington University Hospital where before examination his thousand dollar suit was cut off of him (much to his consternation) and his shirt was removed and taken against his staff’s wishes by the FBI along with all of his personal belongings for evidence. The belongings were returned two days later, the clothing items were kept for evidence in the trial against John Hinckley Jr the following year. It is rumored that the shirt that Ronald Reagan wore the day he was wounded, disappeared shortly after the trial, and has not been located since. – 07.29.2014 – דָּנִיֵּאל

7 thoughts on “The Shirt (An Anecdote of Recycled Redemption)

  1. This is beautiful, Daniel. I’ve read it several times now and, each time, a little more is revealed in its message and meaning. I think my favourite part is,
    ‘A minor washed out stain, that’s hidden and misplaced, what threads are loose are going to be okay.’
    It makes me think of being the damaged shirt but essentially still intact and fit for purpose, able to transform despite being less than perfect.
    The whole piece works on so many levels. As in so many parables, I’m sure further reading at different times would highlight another part of it for me.
    It says everything it has to say but would also make an excellent short story. I’m thinking of ‘The Verger’ by W. Somerset Maugham. There is something similar in the gentleness of style and message.
    I very much enjoyed this.


  2. Thank you so much for your kind words Anne-Marie. I am happy you enjoyed this. To tell you the truth, I started to write it several times and each time it just didn’t seem right, so I would delete and start over again. The shirt perhaps is a metaphor for the soul, but I’m not sure yet. You have already pointed out some wonderful thoughts you gained from it that I hadn’t even considered. Thank you. I do love W. Somerset Maugham, with “The Magician” being one of my favorites, but I had not ever read “The Verger”. Happily I found it on line at and I have truly enjoyed reading it, more than once I might add. 😉 I am humbled by the comparison. Shalom, Daniel


  3. Daniel, I loved this! Your compassion, for those less fortunate than you, always impresses me, knowing what a happy family man you are. Beautiful metaphor. I can relate to this man wanting to make himself `cleaner`, by donning a new shirt. I have tried to wash away my shame, in times gone by. Eventually, I turned the soap and washcloth inside, rather than out. xoxo


    • Thank you Sheila, you are the most beautiful inside and out. Although we have never met, face to face, I feel like I know you, we are family. No soap and washcloth needed as far as I can tell. 🙂 I hope you and Dennis have a peaceful fulfilling Sabbath. Shabbat Shalom!


      • Thank you sooo much, my dear soul brother, Daniel. I feel the exact same way about you and your beautiful family.

        Please send Dennis and I prayers, tomorrow, Sept. 3rd, as he goes into surgery for bowel cancer. It’s something his sister died of, in one year, but they think they caught it in time, and they have not mentioned chemo or radiation. xoxo


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