It starts simply enough– a new thing
needs a new home so I scrape the pages and piles
from the desk and wipe a rough rag across its face.
Then the drum head perched rather precariously above
looks like it needs the same attention.
As I hang the hand-painted Reaper again on its nail
a handwritten card pinned beside waves to me.
“Will you honor your beginnings,
remembering the time apart
and never taking a moment
together for granted?”
I pause to remember that September day
and before I know it my fingers are gently,
with breath held,
brushing the dust from the fragile paper roses wrapped
in unapologetic red satin.
This is how I remember.
The little pieces of the big moments.
A receipt from lunch in Geneva, a heavy coin
pried from the bar after the last beer in London.
Stubs from concerts and movies and trains,
envelopes I kept for the addresses and boarding passes from every plane,
and the tiny photo that sat inside an old jewelry box
for years on my mother’s vanity
before she gave it to me when I was old enough
for real jewelry.
The jewelry box has long been sold,
probably for fifty cents on a damp late-spring afternoon
to someone hoping to gift it to their grand-niece,
but the photograph of me and my sister smiling
in our 1990s shades of blue polyester and denim
It’s been a few hours now, the new thing has its home
and I’ve found new homes for old things and boxed away
old things that I’ve outgrown but not unloved.
This is how I clean– I think it’s a common practice,
to stroll down the Memory Lane (or boulevard or avenue)
and spend time with your favorite moments.
You shake the dust off the pages of your greatest chapters
and shine the trophies from your conquests
and run the vacuum to pick up whatever forgotten things
might have fallen.