If I want to write a poem
What do I say?
How do I fit the entirety of all this life stuff
I lost a cat last week.
I lost a cat five years ago and 6 years ago and 8 years ago.
I lost a cat 21 years ago.
I saved a cat once.
From a plastic bag on the edge of the lake I grew up on.
From the ravaged and burned hills of a shattered neighborhood.
From a life in a shelter.
From a tree.
From a dog.
I saved a dog once.
It was old and it was winter and my uncle was driving his boat to show me the cold Virginia lake.
We saw commotion and steered near. As we got close the old boy gave up and went down.
I had to stretch and reach to my greatest extent.
Shoulder and face in the water
And I grabbed him just before he sunk out of reach
By the scruff of the neck
And pulled him onto the boat.
I would have dove in for him.
I lost my Mom eleven years ago.
Oscar Wilde would call me careless.
Those kinds of losses never really end, but they do fade a little in the dailiness of it all.
I lost my step dad before he saw me make good.
I lost my dad when I was a ratty teen and didn’t notice till I was nearly 50.
I lost a dream.
The first was devastating, the second, liberating.
Losses are love.
I used to make lists of the things I’d keep, long before I started getting rid of things.
In an effort to learn what mattered to me I’d stare out the window, look at nothing in my spaces, and think – what’s here – and what would come with me if I could grab 100 things?
I’d look around my room, my office, the living room and kitchen, but only in my mind’s eye.
What do I see – what’s in that room that is important enough that it makes up a feature of my memory of that room?
Now I live at My Love’s house.
And a couple years ago I got rid of most of my stuff. (I did not consult the lists as I went through things.)
I suspect I kept most of the things that ever got on a list.
And now that stuff is here, integrated with his treasures and tchotchkes, and some little of it is in boxes in storage. The stuff that’s here is important when I notice it – my stuff anyway. I can’t speak to the importance of his Turkish Tea Set. But I cannot easily look through the rooms in my mind’s eye.
My crystal ball is on a small shelf next to a nondescript window in the bedroom, while it sat most of its life on the center of my headboard(s). Last week as Voodoo sat on the window perch Scott said “She looks like she’s looking into the crystal ball.” And I hadn’t SEEN the crystal ball in months. Never notice it. Would it have made a mind’s-eye list of stuff in the bedroom if I made that list today?
So is it still important?