I was going to buy an old crate for $50.
It said DYNAMITE on the side
And I was going to put it in my bathroom
To hold magazines.
But a minute later I forgot why it was a good idea.
The chairs were better to look at.
They winced and complained when sat on,
As if it were your idea.
But everything was beautiful because it was old,
Because the paint had long since abandoned its claim
And the handles had yielded their shape
To the intruding fingers;
The table tops polished and scarred and polished
By the same wandering hands,
By dishes, books, pocket change.
A great mottled cabinet stood sturdy and proud,
But whined and grunted as I opened it,
As if I had woken it from much-needed sleep
And called on it to perform.
I know, cabinet, I thought.
We’re not so different.
I’m not as strong as I look either.
You’ll stand unmolested in my kitchen.
We’ll get along; we’ll lie for each other.
I looked at the price and walked away,
Forgetting it needed me.
I can’t afford that much history.
It’s all better anyway, because it’s old,
All differently, separately old.
I wanted to remain,
To volunteer my atoms into the dust,
Submit my consciousness to other times
And try pieces of them all.
It’s not right that we can remember just one.
I could enroll my own history in this school,
Brush off the unpracticed lessons
Under lamps that wait tangled in corners.
In the end I bought a narrow cabinet, mostly green,
Pretending to be ancient and feigning purpose.
It leans away from my window, ashamed.