In her drawers
thirty t shirts
the one with the pig snout
the one from the St. Anne’s invitational tournament
many with holes
some with their sleeves cut off
some with clouds
some with snow banks and Eskimos and polar bears
the two t shirts with Gorey quotes unopened in their plastic wrappers
the pair of corduroy pants she didn’t like
the French linen pants she never wore
the letter she purloined from my records
with the picture of grandpa and George Bush senior
when they were both around 40 and looking
like minor players in a James Bond movie
she really loved James Bond
he was her kind of hero
or was it just that he was mad handsome
and could get things done
The dresses and skirts and shirts and scarves that hung on the rack
I sorted and put in two piles
first the ones to throw away
then the ones to give away–
no I needed three piles–
the ones to keep or give to friends–
now I have four piles– the ones I will sleep in–
I put the ones to give away in a box–
there are three skirts, two dresses, the pants,
some t shirts and sweaters
and four handbags –
how she loved handbags
the green one that zippered,
the rose patterned clasp.
I open the bag.
Inside is a receipt from the Salvation Army on E. 23 St.
dated October 22, 2005. I decide to go there.
I carry everything to the taxi.
The driver knows of the Salvation Army
on 14th and 26 but I want to go to the one where she was.
It is the day after Thanksgiving, black Friday
they call it.
The traffic is heavy at 23rd St.
I see her ghost at the Gap,
on the corner of the Old Navy store
where we fought over what she wanted to buy
versus what I wanted to pay for.
I suddenly become very hot and pull off my coat, my scarf,
the sweater I knit her so hot like a flash fever.
The driver says where is it?
as we pass the Good Will;
I think I could just go there,
but no –I want to go where she went and then I see it,
the red outline of a kettle and I say to the driver here it is.
You can stop here.
I pull my clothes back on and pay him. In the door are a few clothes racks
with nothing of interest and a sign saying — more downstairs.
Someone takes my box– I have folded the flaps
but it bulges, the last dress I put in shows through–
a red and blue 80s power dress with a gold belt–
is suddenly not hers anymore–
it’s just some discarded stuff —
something she would have trolled for —
that little flash of color showing through the box
like Rosebud in Citizen Kane’s basement — fades away.
The meaning changes once it is out of her room.
It can mean nothing now.