Dispatches from the Pandemic: This Old Desk

Dispatches from the Pandemic: This Old Desk

This old desk whispers hints of lives lived in separate peripheries, of unseen treasures and thoughts and deeds. Whose fountain pen scrawled love notes on the inlaid leather pullout, which daughter broke a crystal finger bowl and wept for a lost pet? What books rested behind these glass doors? What curiosities? Old pocket knives, polished stones? Spent cartridges? And in these slots? Perhaps perfume bottles and note pads. Or unanswered letters and a worn deck of playing cards. A tin box of regrets, another of joy.

Haiku and Whitman
mingling behind beveled glass
Look: my mother’s ashtray

The desk and I are slowly making our acquaintance. I pledge that I will never take its untold history for granted, that I’ll respect its presence and do my utmost to fill it with purpose, with cherished objects and the satisfaction of good work. In turn it offers me solidity, an altar at which to sit and think, to rearrange words, create lists, read, conjure fantasies, breathe. I’ve only just realized that I’ve lacked such a base since abandoning my Texas shack fifteen months ago.

Another window
frames the distant crow
Home at last!

17 thoughts on “Dispatches from the Pandemic: This Old Desk

  1. Intriguing to think of energies embedded in furniture through years of use … vibrations passing into your hands, mind as you sit there writing … this is similar to a piece of furniture in my great aunt’s house that I spent many days in after all her next-generation descendants had passed – house went to my sister and me – our own houses already over-full so we did not keep treasures like this. Fascinating to think of someone (a poet maybe!) now writing at Aunt Lila’s desk … Modern furniture seems designed to last less than a human lifetime – like my son’s workspace – a folding table from Office Depot circa 2000 folded and moved enough times that it wobbles when moved while open (I’m keeping it nevertheless!) Now my jigsaw puzzle table.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I probably would not have found this desk if I’d been actively looking for something to replace the IKEA piece. Ah, serendipity! Old, well crafted furniture speaks to me in a way that pressed laminate does not. Hmm.

      Liked by 4 people

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