Memory and Closets


Memory and Closets


She came with the house.
A skull, spinal column, ribcage, tibia,

scapula – the list goes on, not quite to 206,
even including an extra lumbar vertebra.

Edna (long story) attended Halloween parties
and convivial gatherings, dressed in finery.

Silk suited her best, with linen falling just
behind. And hats! That green fedora,

like a parrot perched on a smiling egg,
never spoke, but stirred the conversation.


Old boots, worn left heel explaining the damaged meniscus.
Portable record player. Scratched vinyl.
Shopping bag of VHS tapes. Two empty scotch bottles.
The 30-year old suit that hasn’t been worn in 28 years.
Yellowed newspaper clippings of diet recipes.
The lost carton of wrapping paper.
A cheap guitar case, sans guitar.


If memory could speak, what would it not say?

Who else has rubbed this dust across his skin?

Only death is irrevocable.

In this darkness I find you.

Fearing withdrawal, we grow closer.

Things, and more things.

Everything we need travels with us.



* * *

This was originally drafted during the August 2016 Tupelo Press 30-30 challenge, and subsequently published in The Quiet Letter in April 2017. It’s original title, sponsored by Darryl Williams, was “Cleaning Out Closets in Anticipation of Moving Closer to Children.”

You can find The Quiet Letter’s 2018 interview with me here.

10 thoughts on “Memory and Closets

  1. Good read for today! Been searching drawers (kin to closets) for gadgets I remember having used years back … seems at some point I must have done a mass reduction of kitchen gadgets! What WAS I thinking?! I keep hoping I’ll find ’em in a box in the back of some closet. Meanwhile, Amazon orders …
    I love the title to this (as you have it now) – our memories ARE closets, holding all manner of old things packed in beyond retrieval w/o some serious digging.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love it! This gave me a much needed belly laugh. I could see Edna dressed in her finery at the Halloween party, sparking conversation while she was on “Mute.” And Section 2 about the stuff we carry. A paradox — de-cluttering and then later finding I have a need for the thing I de-cluttered. Rich piece here!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I moved away from my home of 37 years last summer, and was forced to abandon/discard much. Most of it didn’t matter, but there are a few things I wish I’d been able to keep. Sigh.


      • 37 years is a long time. We’ve been in our place 26 years. A young friend seeking her Marie Kondo certification at least helped w/the “does this bring you joy” question before COVID hit. We got through clothes, never made it to books because of social distancing. I find myself dropping them off at the Little Free Libraries around here. Hope they can bring others some joy. I also have a Poetry Box in front of our house so people can read my poems and other poets as well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Well, I have a book problem. 🙂 Some sixty boxes of books accompanied me. I’d like to install a Little Free Library in front of my new home, and will investigate sometime in the near future whether that’s possible. It would be a joyous gift to the neighborhood.

          Liked by 1 person

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