In late October the safe margins
of the day close in like old age.
The sky drops its blue cap
under a cloud dense and dark
as tar. It is said that one
does not grow heavy with wisdom,
but light and lighter as wisdom grows.
I have to say that I would not trust
my fortune to a ton on the scale
today. My sore feet do not dance
a lighthearted shuffle as I proceed
to shovel through the five-foot drivt
of procrastination that stands
between me and the task of clearing
the shelves, emptying the drawers
of their stale accumulations. . .
In the bathroom closet, a case
of pill samples dated November ’82.
Perfect! I scoop it up and head
for the trash basket, and then
an all-too-familiar voice buzzes
in my head like flies in a jar,
all these tiny brown bottles,
wouldn’t they be great for – what???
well, something . . . tiny vases, filled
with salt . . . sand . . . flowers? painted . . .
etched? . . . And when I put new bulbs
in the light fixture above the sink,
carry the dead ones, cool and round
as winter’s moon, toward the trash basket,
the pack rat’s conscience stings again,
these are just a perfect size
for Christmas ornaments . . . and
what about these nice little square
boxes the new light bulbs came in? I
could save them for special gifts . . .
paint them or cover them
with cloth and glue and beads . . .
or maybe the kids could use . . .
I know I’ll never do any of it.
They’ll just end up shoved onto some
overburdened shelf with more burnt out
bulbs, old bottles, bent spoons,
and dusty pine cones. I try not
to think about the trunk full of shells
bags of feathers cardboard boxes
of photographs, report cards
pressed carnations, baby shoes, my own
pink ribboned curls that Mom cut off
when I was three . . .