by Darlyn Finch Kuhn on September 29, 2017

attic boxes




They are dusty, endless.


Cranky and tired, I implore my husband to stop

handing down boxes from Mama’s attic,

to stop insisting we clear it all out today,

to stop, to please, for the love of all that’s holy, just



He knows me; he loves me; he can see I’m over this

incessant sorting, these perpetual decisions;

to keep, toss, sell, or deliver to people she loved

the items she tenderly wrapped and kept and labeled; things

they almost invariably decline, with sad, ungrateful smiles.


He stacks the boxes in the garage and tiptoes out,

leaving me, in silent fury,

to fume as sole survivor, the responsible one

who always, always has to handle

things no one else will handle.


Interminable, these rubber-band-bound bundles of bills

paid decades ago, these monotonous bank statements sadly lacking in zeroes, this

amaranthine documentation of fourscore years of thrift store accumulation and then

I open a box and there they lie,

gone, but not forgotten, for forty years.


I had forgotten the stripes; I knew they were sky blue

and I’d remembered the elegant piping.

And the blood; I remember the blood, so much blood,

blood that, when washed, resembled nothing worse than a splash of spilled coffee.

A whole pot of spilled coffee.


I lift Daddy’s pajamas from the box.

They smell of attic-dust and time, nothing more.

As she had done, so long ago, I hug them to my chest,

wrap their ghostly arms around myself, and rock, keening in silence.

Holding her. Holding him.




Diana Raab September 29, 2017 at 7:31 pm


I tear as I read your words.
How beautiful.
How very difficult for you.
Sending you much love.

Your fellow DD

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