The barn where I found His coat

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I thought of the Buick I now drove, and the fans of the accordion I fumblingly played on stage now and again. His cologne had left marks on all of these things. My grandfather furrowed his brows and paused, hands just above the workbench and its trinkets, unwilling to move anything. His father had recently passed, and his ghostly mess now sent chills up our spines. 

I watched my grandfather’s neck muscles tense as he placed it on the rack where it belonged. The hammer, defiant, slipped back off and knocked a pile of nails onto the dirt floor of the barn. 

He reached past the corner of a tool shelf towards a brown leather coat that hung there. He held it for a moment, and then looked at me. I do not remember the words exchanged, but I wore the jacket as we walked towards our truck. The land that once belonged to my great grandfather would be divided between his progeny and sold, none of us willing to till the land there. As we rumbled quietly down the road, my grandfather sniffled and I could still smell the cologne, wafting up from the jacket. North Dakotan frost crept up my back from the tiny holes shoddily patched up near the spine of the coat and I wondered if the smell would ever come out.

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