Self-portrait, with Out-of-Body Experience

"Everything has two handles: one
by which it may be carried, the other
by which it can't." ~ Epictetus


On a day of continuous rain, I start
again to make inventory: the shirt

that no longer buttons in the middle,
the trousers with broken zippers.

But I would rather try to bring shine
back to the scuffed hardwood floor

than put things in either of two bags
marked donation or trash; would rather

sweep up the dust and wipe last night's
cooking stains off the counter. We're almost

out of rice but the fig tree in the yard
has showered us daily with fruit. All

the money I earned in summer is gone,
but work starts again in three weeks.

We have possibly more books than I
could finish in one lifetime,

but since I've started slowly reading
through them, perhaps this doesn't strictly

qualify as tsundoku. My horoscope says
memories weigh down my thoughts; and so

I might find myself overreacting, discarding
items from the past without remembering

how much they mean to me. Sometimes
the moment between one effort and the next

is loud as the alarm triggered by a trip-
wire. Sometimes, it is the briefest

shimmer of quiet when I feel my ghost
unlatches: it walks around the kitchen

island without picking up a knife to slice
tomatoes, without gathering into its arms

a warm new load of laundry with that faint
human smell which soap can't quite dispel.

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