WORLDLY GOODS

Those teachings about Impermanence
–I know, I know–  yes, but what to do
–right now, I mean–
with this flood of  leftovers
—these lifetimes muttering
in every cupboard?

This set of open-work ivory linen
we bought in Florence—place-mats
runner, a dozen napkins to match
My  parent’s wedding silver—complete with
twelve oyster-forks, ten butter-knives
& six egg-spoons washed in gold

And here are the cigarette-boxes & ashtrays
we used to put out for parties
here the leaky beautiful Raku vessels
from my days as a potter

Nobody wants our Danish Blue wedding china
or the treasured record collection—
Casals playing Bach Suites, Burl Ives,
Dylan Thomas–   (oh that bardic, drunken voice)
The Play of Daniel, Guys and Dolls, Candide…

And what to do with videos of birthdays & graduations
boxes full of photo negatives—carefully catalogued?
These journals of trips–each day recorded
with notes, addresses of people we met
receipts from famous restaurants–
The Dordogne—Sicily–the Fjords of Norway.
Guidebooks– Indonesia & Mexico & Greece?
And maps, oh those marked & re-folded maps…
His pocket Atlas–
our cancelled passports

And then there’s this mountain of books
Who now will want
Masefield’s Collected Works bound in leather?
The Oxford Companion to English Literature (1948)?
& all the slim volumes of essays & poetry,
fly-leaves inscribed with the names
of old lovers & dead friends…

Ah tell me, anyone–how do I travel light,
all these beloved useless things
clinging to my legs like so many children
babbling their stories?
Are they afraid of the dark?
What shall I tell them…
how can I comfort them?