Who will know the value of the Dewey Thompson footstool
Bought in Appalachian coal country?
Five hard-earned singles eased from the back pocket of tight jeans.
For sure my mother’s rings will be labeled soon for nieces,
But what of the Melmac platter, the palest green that favors no décor, scratched,
Though I remember it holding only bread for dinners?
The scalloped plate is new but I recall my Aunt Ruth’s deviled eggs
Each time I make my own.
It will go naked, without memories or recipe.
Its place a thrift shop shelf if lucky,
The local landfill if not.
Keep only what gives you joy, I hear.
If so, what bears the tossing out?
Photos of a younger self,
The teddy bear from an old lover turned new suitor,
Thought better of after the weekend was over.
The phone that doesn’t work but has a parent’s final voicemail message.
“It’s just your mother. It’s Friday afternoon.”
Author’s Comment: Several things inspired this piece, including conversations about building more bookshelves. I keep hearing about the need to “declutter,” and how younger generations do not want their elders’ “stuff.” Friends are downsizing. I cherish the things that surround me and each item is a part of the story of my life. I have no idea how to choose, how to part with any of it. Mostly, I simply do not want to. The price of indecision, however, is that when I am gone, someone else will cart it all away with no love for nor understanding of any of it.