|outside the holocaust museum, Washington, DC|
Second drawer down on the right, in the wood top desk, which sat beneath the window of my childhood room, held the universe of lost & found things.
The post cards, of course, with pictures of places I’d never been well outside the boundaries of our neighborhood, addressed to someone else & held by an ever hardening red rubber band. Evidence of life in the great beyond.
Marbles. Unmatched queens and a five of clubs. Empty matchbooks with archaic numbers scribbled on their covers. Round bits of metal & springs, screws. Pieces of contoured glass. A uniform patch, that read Layman Brothers. String. A Mother board. Mess of wires.
Relics of a previous future, unmet, yet.
After a day exploring the woods as we played war or built outposts along the border, my brother, cousins and I emptied our pockets in the center of the floor. Loose dirt and rust spraying off our findings into the carpet. We'd run fingers along grooves, pitted surfaces and hard places---a puzzle in how they all fit.
‘Do we know what it is yet?’ my cousin would ask, always the first & last question.
‘No, there is more,’ was ever the answer.
We’d sit, rolling them in our palms and tell the story, each day adding details. A washer from an elbow or shoulder joint. A receipt carried the activation code for something called Marlb. An action, or maybe the name of what we were re-constructing.
When called to supper we would slip them in the drawer, with a clink, clank, ring-a-ling. The drawer became heavy in its track, hard to slide out and release its contents.
At night, after everyone left I would take everything out and assemble it in the obvious patterns. Arms. Legs. An eye. The inner workings of the body. Then I lay within, cuddled in a ball, my ear pressed to the heart---an old railman’s pocketwatch, which belonged to my grandfather--- and wait for it to whisper, once more.
written for Poetry Jam & Theme Thursday