She said to give it all away and that’s okay for the couch
and the recliner, but there are some things you just take home:
We can always use Q-Tips, freezer bags, the new pound of butter
and finally, how many boxes of toothpicks can you toss
before tasting that shred of bacon again and thinking,
okay, I can use these.
The pile is slid into a handy tote or a Xerox box with handles.
Can you have too many nail clippers?
And I want her little ring and her other little ring
and you can have the ruby because you gave it to her
and in our family all gifts are returned in the end.
In my poverty I gave poetry as Deborah gave service
and Janeann gold and good sweaters. All in returned in time.
But what about the little things:
her pink towels are brighter than mine,
so yes, pack them.
At home I wash them immediately
as if trying to dissolve the faded scent of l’air du temps,
yes, something’s in the air all right,
but even a soaking tide won’t wash away this lifetime.