Thursday, February 4, 2021




I used to collect sticks at random,

one from Princeton campus when I was 18

I kept it for 40 years until I lost it.

another I found in the woods next to a house I loved


It took me five years to not miss the house

I practically had a breakdown when we left

houses are not collectible, nor savable


I saved a tuft of my dead cat’s fur

it is tucked into a small cardboard jewelry box in my dresser drawer

I thought I could summon his DNA from that tuft

and that he would return 

during the night like an alien visitor


I had another cat.

he had a heart attack one day and died in my arms

it happened so fast

there was no saving him.


I stole river stones from Bittersweet Falls 

to mark my dead cat’s grave 

When we moved from the house I loved, I stole the stones

from his grave

I piled them on a windowsill in my new house

the stones felt smooth and cool in my hand as if they’d always belonged to me and 

I hadn’t stolen them at all


I save photos on my phone.

I have so many that the Verizon guy rolled his eyes

then he explained how the Cloud could help me with my problem.

I still don’t believe him.

I’m afraid to lose the photos. 

what if I lose the people?

the photos will be all that remain 
so I hoard the photos and 

hope for the best.


My mother and I correspond via U.S. mail

Mommy sends me cards that she orders from the Immaculate Heart of Mary sisters

I send her artist cards that I buy at the co-op

her cards cost $.49 each

mine cost $3.00

both she and I like cards with birds on them

the cost of the birds is irrelevant


I save these cards from my mother;

she is 92 years old

each time one arrives in the mailbox whether it is my birthday or Christmas

I think “I am 68 years old

and receive cards from my mother.”

I say it out loud for emphasis


Her handwriting is still Catholic- schoolgirl-holy

my dresser drawer is crammed with these beauties

her beautiful DNA is on them


When she is gone, the cards will make it seem as if she is still with me

like a cat reincarnate

or river stones piled high on a windowsill

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