Twenty years from now,
you might be the one
to empty my house.
The dishes can go
to Goodwill, they’re not fine china.
I know you never liked
the mocha brown coffee mugs,
but find someone who appreciates
well-crafted pottery. For years,
they’ve been something
to hold onto in the morning.
Next to the sink in the mudroom,
the red wing crock I used to brine olives,
deserves a special home.
And when you go through the boxes
in the attic, toss what you don’t want
of the LPs but keep the Pete Seeger album.
Tucked in my mother’s cedar chest,
bundles of cards and notes
from your father dating back to the sixties.
Feel free to read whatever you find.
I take them out every so often,
run my index finger over his handwriting,
communicate by Braille.
The box of his ashes,
flecked with white slivers of bone,
rests at the bottom under the flag.
They should have been scattered
long ago. You’ll know what to do
with them and mine.
In my office, you’ll find notebooks
filled with research for my many moves,
San Francisco, Miami, Carson City, Las Vegas
and Portland. Crime statistics, walkability scores,
names, numbers for realtors
and moving companies, it’s all there.
The lies I told myself because I believed
the next city would be the one
where I could finally sleep at night,
get up in the morning
and like what came next.
About the Author: Pat West
Pat Phillips West lives in Portland, Oregon. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, San Pedro River Review, and Slipstream, and some have earned nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.