I'll try to clean up before I go
although I don't yet know when I'll be going,
for the sun still hangs in the sky,
a bit pale, diluted now, but still it's the sun I've always known.
Who can tell how long the light will last, or when I should start
peeling off possessions, lugging boxes to the curb,
giving away the black silk skirt made out of Dior scraps
which belonged to that French friend whose aunt once worked for thefamous
couturier. She'd sneak cuttings home at night to stitch into new beauty
which I didn't wear often enough, and yet I don't want to leave it
for the grown children to stuff into a plastic bag, cursing the heavy
dull weight of loss, of my leavings,
of Broadway Playbills kept in order, rusted lids and canning jars,
Let's not even mention the books no one wants
with their crepuscular bindings, their thin pages cracked like egg shells.
I'll try to get rid of them before I go
for I know that no one will ever read
Anna Karenina the way I did, happily ensconced
on a window seat, sixteen years old and home with a head cold,
Mother pouring tisane into a cup and handing it to me, while the December
rays eased their way across the floorboards
and the days, though short, were growing longer,
and I still had chapters left to read.