Have you ever thought about - the things that linger?
The detritus of daily life, those old styrofoam fast food containers
I still find in my daughter's room.
She used them to fill her up.
The paper clips we buy to futilely try
Holding things together,
The pens that, lacking ink, or those tiny necessary springs,
End up at the bottoms of drawers, mixed with
Old handwritten address books.
My closets are filled with dry cleaner bags.
Piles of single socks adorn my dresser.
I find unexpired gift cards in unexpected places.
My husband found my grandmother's rug
The other day
In a box
Mailed to me weeks after her death
By my now dead uncle.
I could not bear to open it then.
It lingered in our attic until,
By the miracle of winter clearing out,
We found it once again.
I was surprised when it reappeared
In a new stage of our lives
After so many other ties have passed.
Their things linger long after their physical presence departs.
I saw my fractious daughter the other night.
As she sat across from me
Eating hearty on my dime
In that chain restaurant she likes
Telling me she will only make herself happy
By traveling far from her troubles.
I made sure I told her "Wherever you go, there you are."
Most things follow us, eventually.
It is hard to know what we can safely keep.
Fearful of letting go,
We hold onto things that slip away.
Others linger though we try to cast them off.
But that lovely rug my grandmother hooked by hand
Is of great comfort to me now as I walk barefoot upon it.
Call me "pack rat" but I cannot seem
To discard the paper wrapping with my uncle's handwriting.
When I close my eyes, I can see him again,
Addressing it to me with tears in his kind blue eyes
Doesn't everything have some final use after all?
Shelley Kahn is employed in federal service as a civil rights attorney. She
lives most of the time in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., but her heart is
pulled in the direction of the Delaware coast. One of her many passions in life
has been to write poetry about everything she has observed in nature, in people
and animals. Her poems have been featured in various publications, such as
“Melancholy Hyperbole,” “Dove Tales,” “The Path”, and “From the Depths, Haunted
Water’s Press.” She is currently a member of the Rehoboth Beach Writer's
--from the archives of The Broadkill Review
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