past – collection

today i was at my grandma’s house

it’s not quite empty
the carpet’s gone,
and the table with the old phone
and the tv and that bookshelf
and most of our pictures

but it’s not quite empty
it has hardwood floors
and things strewn around
that we’re trying to
save, or give away, or find a place for
before the house is sold

today i filled a box with
handkerchiefs, books, & tiny red bottles

and i have this memory.
all of us (it seems)
are sitting around this living room
when it still had carpet
and we opened our presents
from oldest to youngest
everyone was there!
the circle was so big
this is a good memory to me

when i was a little older i wondered
why don’t we do that anymore?
where are the big christmases?
it’s been longer now
since that circle-present day
i don’t wonder so much (about that)

but today
i thought
there are so many
so many
memories i have that i feel disconnected from
that was a long time ago
that’s not who i am now
that was before this, before this
today i realized that these things
are not gone
not disappeared
not un – happened
they are here
in me
part of me

i want to live
not in the past
but not just in the present either
(because sometimes – often – i forget what came before)
i want to live as a collection of  these things
like there’s a veil streaming from my being
of all the things that have happened before
that are not gone
that are still with me
like working at camp
like being backstage for les mis
like random things from sophomore year
like christmas a long time ago
the things i thought were gone,
that i wish i could better remember

today i was thinking
i want to live
not in the past,
but not just in the present either

today i was in my grandma’s house
and it was not quite empty