This poem came about during some spring cleaning. I realized as I was sorting through all my stuff just how much of it there was, and how I had not looked into or seen much of that same stuff for a very long time. Some of what I have stored up are things I keep that belonged to my parents – things it feels almost sacrilegious to part with or take to a dumpster, but yet not significant enough to move out into my house (also, there would just not be enough room with all my stuff on display, too).

After my initial pangs of guilt over having so much when many people have so little, I started to wonder why I was still keeping many of these items. I can always seem to construct some justifiable reason for retaining my own belongings (zombie apocalypse ahead!); but I realized that the reasons behind keeping so many of my parents’ things are far more complicated. There are strange, fluctuating emotional ties, memories both pleasant and painful, attached to all of that stuff – anchors that hold me and keep me tied to a time when both my parents were still alive and I had a home somewhere I could go back to.

Now I have to make my own home. And I guess all those seemingly useless items are a part of my past, a past I carry around with me from house to house, during all my moves; things that I keep telling myself one day I will have the time and willingness to revisit and sort through. Whether they make me feel happy or bring tears to my eyes, one day I’m sure I will see them again.

Bits and Pieces

I carried the shifting weight
Up the stairs,
Down the hall,
To the attic door;
I set it down,
Looked all around
For some secret space
On the floor.

Other loads lay all around me,
Gathering dust,
Holding secrets
Packed away long ago;
No spot left bare,
No room to spare –
For this new burden,
No place to go.

What now? I asked the darkness,
Take it back?
Open it up,
Scatter the contents around?
Throw some here,
Toss more there,
Leave bits and pieces
On the ground?

Silence only greeted me –
No voice said ‘yes,’
Or cried out ‘no,’
I stood without reply;
So I took my box,
And turned the lock,
Resolved, with no place
Left to hide.