SOUVENIRS—What We Keep in a Box

Each time you move, do you ship the same

brown carton – photos, birth certificates,

term papers that got A+, news clips and letters,

yearbooks and programs?

The newsprint crumbles, the photos curl,

the names are forgotten.

Year after year it waits under dust in the attic

for a grandchild or biographer or a rainy afternoon

when all the items of the past can be studied, sorted,

and properly arranged.

(Maybe I dug this up—a yellowing clip from publication in a newspaper, kept in a carton—because I’m about to take a de-cluttering course. I begin with this admission: I am powerless in my cluttering and accumulating. Martha Stewart is my higher power.)



  1. Ron Gold · · Reply

    I never got an A+ on a term paper.

  2. Judith Lechner · · Reply

    Loved this poem. thanks for a great writing workshop. I enjoyed dissecting Robert Lowell’s poem for a second time and saw even more this time. Whenever I can, I will try to get to the Thursday workshop.

    1. Thank you. It was great that you were here.

  3. Ann Parker · · Reply

    How apt that I’m reading this today, since I am at this very moment (well, not this very) clearing out some clutter. Threw away a whole file box full of letters on Saturday, and now I’m mourning the loss of all those letters from my mother.

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