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.