Hard choices

Tonight I manage to fill two shopping bags
with books: I’m thinning my shelves,

aiming for lighter, for less— Tomorrow
I’ll start going through closets, shed

old suits and shirts from their hangers,
fold and give them away. I imagine a house

with an airier center, uncluttered floors;
tidy drawers, before the immigrant’s penchant

for saving every little thing given or found
for a rainy day— No more assorted knick-

knacks in corners or rolls of used gift
wrap in bags. From such deep-seated memory

of want and hardship, this habit of hoarding
tinned food, good stuff, for use on another day

—that future during which we imagined we’d sit
and finally rest from our labors, from all the days

making bargain after bargain, figuring the sums
of hard choice against pleasure, ambition, or need.


In response to Via Negativa: Rooted.

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