It was a mirrored, wooden cabinet
hung at about eye-level so he could see
himself before he left for work
in the morning, when it was still dark out
and everyone else was asleep and warm.
And he kept nothing but cologne in there,
bottles and bottles of it: Brut, Old Spice,
Pierre Cardin, English Leather, Coty Musk,
Stetson, Aqua Velva, Afta, Skin Bracer,
Preferred Stock, Aspen. Cheap stuff
his kids gave him, or maybe he bought it
himself at the drugstore for under ten bucks
so he’d have some variety in the morning,
some choice in how he presented himself
to a world where he didn’t have many choices,
a world that was hard on him, and one he’d leave
far too soon: just after a meager Christmas one year
at only forty-two years old, all those cheap bottles
collecting dust now, their contents slowly evaporating
until the day comes when there’ll just be nothing left of him.
David Armand is Writer-in-Residence at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he also serves as associate editor for Louisiana Literature. In 2010, he won the George Garrett Fiction Prize for his first novel, The Pugilist’s Wife, which was published by Texas Review Press. His second novel, Harlow, was published by Texas Review Press in 2013. In 2015, David’s third novel, The Gorge, was published by Southeast Missouri State University Press, and his poetry chapbook, The Deep Woods, was published by Blue Horse Press. David’s memoir, My Mother’s House, was published in March 2016 by Texas Review Press.