STUFF IN A DESK DRAWER: My father died in 1972 when I was in high school. Most of his things - photos, odd pieces of clothing, shoes, a few bow ties, various letters to his children that showed off his beautiful penmanship, books and drawings have been divided among family members long ago or discarded. An oil portrait of dad was thrown out on mom’s last move to Raleigh. Nobody liked it. Not long ago I came across a small box that held an assortment of things collected when someone cleaned out his desk drawer. I don’t know why I still had it, 48 years on. I spread out the contents wondering what the visual might tell me. Various short colored pencils, keys to something, a birthday candle, two pocket knives, Christmas light bulbs, an air pump needle, paper clips, a golf tee, a wooden nickel, a library reading club pin, a brush and various fasteners. But there were no epiphanies, only the quiet visual of knowing these meaningless, hardly valuable things were his, and thereby, to me, still meaningful.
If love did not exist, I would be so goddamn sane. My poems would be billboards. Suburbia would be enough. I would not have to gut myself to find my spine crushed into powder and brushed on her cheek bones. My hair would not be a humming bird’s nest. My mind would not have to move this fast just to rest.
Andrea Gibson, Staircase