In a back corner of the attic are things
too worn to use, no longer of use,
the metal and plastic pitted and worn,
technically savable, but given enough time,
enough abandonment, they will become
hopelessly broken. Things
you are not able to release.
Something inside you clings to them,
like a mother to a child,
never learning the lesson that the dead
never return, and so we regulate them
to purgatory, just above our heads,
a silent weight. our consciousness assuaged, convinced
we will return to our lost loves
if only we keep them close.
We hear them, rattling around up there.
They infect our dreams and nightmares,
they arrive in the midst of arguments and depressions.
Wierd ghosts we believe we have put away,
even as we dance through the night.
Not for me the attic. Leave mine empty, full only
of dust and spiders and sublight leaking in.
Toss the stuff out. Burn it and dance around the flames.
Send the ghosts packing or move them to new homes.
There is nothing there I need any longer
or it would not be banished.
Let me learn new lessons,
lessons where only space and sunlight exist.
for whatever adventure awaits.
About this poem
I have an attic. It is half full of my kid’s things. Stuff they want when they get homes big enough to hold them. There are things from their childhoods, furniture and such. There are Christmas decorations, lots of them, that rise and fall each year as the season approaches and leaves. Nothing of mine is up there. I am much more of “get rid of it” person than someone who stores it “just in case”.
Over the years, I have been working to be the same way with my emotions and the baggage we all have. Let it go. Make new mistakes. Life will fill in the blanks. I don’t need to carry it around. Ghosts have no place in my life. I’m not there yet, but I’ve made real progress.
And life is much lighter.
Dancing around the campfire,
PS, the picture was taken in one of the barns at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s home in Lenox, Mass.