Ray and I drove out to my grandparents’ house to help them pack things up for their move to an assisted living home. Aside from the time some idiot pulled a fire alarm and I had to carry Ray down seven flights of stairs at 2 a.m., this is pretty much how it went:
Your House (Draft)
I know it’s the last thing on your mind right now,
but I’ll miss your house.
You know, you have too much stuff.
You save everything, from fabric remnants twenty years old
(Am I exaggerating? Tell the truth now)
to Parkay tubs stuffed with leftovers all-too-easily
identified from the last time I saw you.
(Okay, so that’s an exaggeration. But only a small one.)
You’ve been giving things away for a while.
A hundred interrupted and well-intentioned projects,
now boxed up and sent off in minivans and pickup trucks,
looking for homes with your children,
your grandchildren, your friends, the church rummage sale,
the goodwill, anyone who needs them,
anyone who will give them a home.
Each canning jar, each spool of thread has a story:
This is the story of the Jello mold.
This is the story of the story of the broken beads.
Maybe I’ll like the new place. I didn’t like this one
when you left the farm. But it grew on me,
until I can’t imagine it without somebody’s RV
parked on the dry grass in the front yard,
the neighbor’s horses begging for apples,
the vinyl tablecloth patterns that I’ve traced and retraced
with one finger and the sweat from a glass of icewater,
the couch lined with relations who drove five hours
in a minivan to do just this — sit —
and, always, the hutch, where old dishes breed like rabbits.
The truck stop. The gravel road, complete with warshboards.
The evermoving wind, picking up tumbleweeds
and blowing them away.