Possession

The Swedes call it Döstädning,
the art of death cleaning: you look
around and you’re supposed to pare
down to only the essentials. In other words,
there is nothing here that you can really
take with you. The question: what is
essential? The years give a lived-in look
to our accumulations; also, they show
how much stock we still put in the idea
of tomorrow— closets full of coats,
drawers full of sheets; still new, still
crisp and folded around their cardboard
liners. Chests where we hide the family
jewels or the secret letters. We are
our own museums dedicated to appetite
and the unforgettable: the parts
of the world we’ve touched and kept,
that one day stopped us in our tracks—
some impossible beauty that said
possess me: it’s the only
way you’ll know you’re here.

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