Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Picking up the pieces

So, instead of moving, instead of getting that "fresh" house, we began to renovate. I got rid of the scene of the crime first, then I took his bedroom and closet and turned them into a beautiful office where I'm sitting right now writing this, and we moved boxes and boxes of things we cannot part with into the garage. All the boxes are meticulously labeled and arranged in deference to him.


We don’t have to look into that room anymore
and wonder if spots of blood still remain
on the floors and walls.
We’ve demolished the scene of the crime.
We will no longer step into that tub and see Paul
in his white long sleeved work shirt
and khaki pants sitting against the shower door
in a bloody puddle.
They’ve taken it all away.
The old aqua blue tub
the toilet, and sinks.
the faux marble counter
with burn stains from the tiny firecrackers
he set off as a teenager.
The god-awful blue and yellow vinyl flooring is gone.
Sterile white tiles and fixtures
will take their place
in a room with no memories
either of life or death.

Six years later
instead of the dark room
he walked out of for the last time
leaving the door slightly ajar
his bed never slept in
his dirty laundry
slung over his over-stuffed chair,
his paychecks left on the side table
uncashed for weeks,
his pictures and posters meticulously thumbtacked
in perfect rows on the walls
his books and records all lined up
in alphabetical order in his closet
along with his shoes and plaid shirts from second-hand stores,
his keyboard, electronic drums, amplifier,
and his music, each tape labeled and packed
in a canvas bag,
so we could easily choose
a piece to play at his funeral.
Instead, the room now totally bare
except for a new bay window
that looks over the garden
and new shiny hardwood floors.
A writing table and a comfortable sofa
will go in there
with space in the closet
for shelves of poetry books,
files of poems hoping to be published.

Boxes labeled Paul’s fiction A-Z
Paul’s jazz records K-O
Paul’s rock and roll A-F
stacked where I can see them
as I open the door
park my car every evening
after a long day at work.
On top of the boxes
a pile of dungeons and dragon games
one tarnished brass duck bookend
he got for his Bar Mitzvah,
the purple treasure chest
where he kept his pot,
a cigar box filled with metals and belt buckles
his uncle brought him from Russia.
Leaning against the wall
a roll of drawings
he made in Bellevue’s psych ward
each declaring his love for Sally
now married with two children.
A photo of her
with high pointing breasts,
slim waist, flat stomach, and round, firm buttocks
shows her proud, and so ready,
though Paul was not.
He let her go
He let it all go
with one sweep of the knife.

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