Own

All this beautiful, heavy hardwood furniture—
the slab of polished mahogany that serves
as coffee table, the long-leaved dining table
and its matching credenza from Spain, the grand
piano in the living room that we are thrilled
to play Bach, Gershwin, “Chopsticks,” or
Sondheim on— belongs to our landlady.
To rent her digs, the deal was that we had to live
with all her stuff. We looked around at what
we owned— six folding bookshelves, three
computer desks, a couch, a few lamps picked up
at Service Merchandise or Target, a microwave and
microwave cart, our daughter’s sleeping pallet;
and many, many bankers’ boxes filled with books—
and said something like Easy come… or perhaps
We can’t take it with us when we go. And one
of the friends who took over our possessions quoted
from song or scripture that part about our cares
being worth more than those of white-throated sparrows
singing in the field, all the while assessing
the quality of a set of china on which he had designs.
But it’s ok, really— We look after the place as if
it were our own, and thank our lucky stars for so many
windows— the upstairs ones are great for reading
our books or writing late, by late summer light. We pay
utility bills when they are due, change the batteries
in the smoke detectors, take the lint out of the dryer
screen. We vacuum and mop beneath the beds and chairs,
in hard to reach corners where hair and dust balls
consolidate the interest they will secure in final lien.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

Series Navigation← <em>We woke and the world was colder,</em>Excerpts →

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