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The book The House of the World has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and is now available on Amazon.

The Cellar

Four walls,
emptiness and openness,
that is my cellar,
cleaned of its memories,
rubbish, papers,
treasures found, discovered, stolen.
Lamps and boxes and scarfs and gloves,
and above all, discarded poetry,
letters, secret diaries,
old newspapers with hidden stories.
It all made up my life.

It accumulated, threatened me,
reduced itself to mold,
took sunlight and cast coal in the sky.
It was the open tense
of a life finishing itself,
but not finished,
and I cleaned it all out.
Rescued myself,
put in order what needed straightening,
and I found four walls,
emptiness and openness.
A certain joy and a caution.

What does the sea hold for me?
What does the great ocean of life
do for me now?
What will I bring to the cellar
of my emptiness.
Should I learn how to forget?
Should I take new love,
burn fires on a mountain?
Gaze into forever until it perishes?
Should I never collect again?
Never save a letter,
cherish a picture?

What do I do with the orphans
in my garage?
The junk,
the cherished mementos,
myself wrapped in crumbling diaries.
I do not know.
I refuse to give up my new freedom.
The dropping away of dreams
that have finished themselves.
I do not want them,
they belong to the sand,
to the stones on my soul’s shore.
But I am a footprint in their reality.

Published inIndex of all Poems