The Clear Out

She has bags of bags, filled with shoes, Christmas wrappings, old cards
And new ones.
Bags of overplayed records and unopened letters.

We keep clawing into the gloom and dust:
More bags, half open boxes, stuck to this sticky insect-shell-carpet,
Deep in the fabric of the long dead.

Box after box…
Some with bags in, some have letters, reams of aims,
Bags of dreams.

There are more shoes, a crimson coat of majestic massiveness.
Here is a box full of bags from the eighties filled with toys
– Battalions of soldiers in disarray eyeballing teams of alien muscle-men
Through the decades.

And last of all, wrenching the newspaper floor with it,
Dragged out from beyond,
A decomposing leather hold-all, filled with photographs.
Beaming childhood hopes, tiers of school pics, camping trips,
Instants of hurried-through birthdays and flashes of Christmases.

I clamber back. Kneel back, and, hands on knees, take a breath.

Our treasure-haul has piled up in the bedroom,
One trove stacked on a chair.
Inhaling the gasps of long ago,
The chatter of ages fills my nostrils,
Hits the back of my throat – the depths of memory
– And I gulp down more,
She shuts the bedroom window, Which abruptly suffocates us.

*** “Go get a bag then.”
Her hands already picking over the bones.

Another bag. This one heavy with dark implications
Heavy with its Black.
The crisp pliable plastic of sacks.

I bare my mind as I reach into the kitchen cupboard, downstairs.
Here dark, personal, thoughts swim.
So, again, upstairs ripping one finality after another off the roll
We empty years of what-ifs into these terrible cocoons.

We stay for days jogging back and forth
through shared and forgotten events.
All that’s dead is gone, all that’s dust is dead. In a bag in a box
In a hole. There’s a dream that once lit up her head.