Poems & Essays

20 Apr

In Storage

General/Column No Response

Hope against hope chests,
Even the bland bureau drawer,
Any convenient receptacle of dreams
Designed to make today more efficient,
To keep all your pretty plans
Dust-free, unworn — safer than you thought possible.

At first it’s only temporary:
Pile them in pell mell,
So many you have to bunch them up —
But no need to worry over wrinkles
When you’ll be getting back to them so soon.

Nor, years later, when the lid is lifted
Do evils fly out to contaminate the world.
Dreams are not so inevitable after all.
You take them out, fold them in a practiced way,
Hear them rustle in the thin tissue of denial
As you sort and stack them neatly.
How easily they fit now,
No pressure on the hinge.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – 

Today I lifted the lid again
For my daughter.
The most cherished still remained.
I shook it out, gently,
And held it to her chin,
Smoothing the rest down in front.
She waited patiently, unmoved,
While I cried.
It did not suit her figure or her coloring.
And as for me, after all the years of prudent storage,
It was unbecoming.

Marya Smith can attest that grandmothers also always write. The recipient of the 2011 Betty Gabehart Prize in Creative Non-Fiction, she has written essays, feature articles and profiles for a wide range of publications. Her two middle grade novels were published by Little, Brown and Company, and she has had two plays produced in Chicago. She was the second place winner in the 2015 Writer’s Digest poetry contest. Marya Smith lives in rural northwestern Illinois.

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