image of Fidel Castro

642 square feet (or apartment therapy)

illustrated government booklet on surviving atomic attack

the duck-and-huddle of the Atomic Age

drove my parents partially underground

to build a cement-block bomb shelter

with a hollow-door shield against Castro’s fierce beard—

a helter-skelter haven for hoarding

leftovers that should have dearly departed:

chipped furniture, glass baluster vases,

and piles of Life, Look, and Seven Sisters

once proudly fanning the walnut veneer

of Mom’s “Early American” coffee table—

ranch un-chic she wedged into that fallout tumble

after family heirlooms turned up at her door

and she had good cents to mix Chinese Chippendale,

Canton blue porcelain and oxblood lamps

with Middle Tennessee antiques and coin silver

shadowboxed against muted charcoal gray.

they were hoarders of 57-year memory.

my possessions accumulate fewer by year,

the odds and ends of what might have been.

what is it to be a professional packer

of this-is-mine-not-yours-it-went-on-my-charge-card-

I-saw-that-painting-first squabbles—

the automaton sorter of broken houses?

am I brave enough to stroke the tiger stripes

of a quarter-sawn oak library table,

where I will dine breakfast-lunch-dinner,

going against the grain that mahogany

is more tasteful, after all, my dear?

Oak is sturdy, and whatever, it’s only stuff.

Photo credit: Marcelo Montecino [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Complicated“: Who needs it? I’m downsizing.

 

10 Comments

  1. zipfslaw1

    Love:

    > leftovers that should have dearly departed:

    …and

    > what is it to be a professional packer

    > of this-is-mine-not-yours-it-went-on-my-charge-card-

    > I-saw-that-painting-first squabbles—

    > the automaton sorter of broken houses?

    …and

    > Oak is sturdy, and whatever, it’s only stuff.

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