Everything in its Place – Draft

Everything in its place,
Or maybe the trash
Where it will be drained
Maybe tragically
Of purpose.
The plaything of rats
And millennia of decay.

Hundreds of wingnuts
(and myriad bolts which seem inexplicably to not fit them)
Padocks forever clenched,
Combinations maybe written on a notepaper
In a distant school
in a far away grade
By children who are ours only in that they once were.

And brads – we keep brads
Not having the kind of art hung with much more
This might have held a terrible print
Or a framed work of art
By a fifth-grader who now is learning to drive.
It doesn’t have the paint or the canvas
Only the plaster from which
It was ripped.

The batteries and the extra screwdrivers
Are easy to sort out.
The tape seems to have ensnared
Hundreds of tiny screws and paperclips
The dirt of the garage floor.
And maybe the glitter from that
Halloween when she was a princess
Or an 80s glam rocker.

How do we sort that out?

Do we keep the extra bulbs for the Christmas light string
(have we ever replaced a bulb?
Or do we just plan to,
Standing in the aisle,
Buying new sets, three-for-two)
And if we don’t – keep them – do we lose the
Tree and gifts and the pleasure we shared
Watching the kids
Open gifts we couldn’t afford,
Whose spare parts litter the floor in front of us.

It all fades away and someday,
You shudder to think,
Is gone. And your child or a stranger will
Sweep the concrete, throw away the extra blades
And the vast supply of cheap pens
Into reinforced, black 30-gallon trash bags.
Along with empty film canisters which
Held what you or at least your grandparents
Thought were memories.

But we are memories.
And the garage needs to be sorted.

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