If orphaned without context
Antiques would be lonely.
What does it take to be antique?
     A history:
the coffee cup with built-in tray
for the mustache, keeping it dry,
the flowered chamber-pot
now holding a bouquet,
the travel case of inlaid wood
with silver filigree that holds
mongrammed crystal flasks
for shaving lotion, and the chair
to be sat on backwards
when watching cock-fights,
the traveling trunk big as a coffin,
the dress with whalebone stays.

The past invades like mold.
It takes a hold of us because
the love of things ties us down to earth, unable to let go,
a quaint perfume that clings.
We live in both directions, past
and future, pulling us apart
between the cosmic gulp ahead
and artist’s crafts that fitted out
     the dead.


A vast map, a deep well
in which time’s orchestra
has many voices. I dive in
and retrieve a taste of distance,
a smell of dusk, the light of lives
behind windows of houses
passed on streets in foreign cities.

How much I’ve stored, forgotten,
children grown, parents interred
in quiet pockets, names of roads
and languages spoken in market places,
old ways un-wrapped, invalid paper money,
and being young, with all that life unspent,
letting it go. It’s who I am, ripened
into now, a universe, condensed.