No dog-eared copy of The Price of Salt,
no nude drawings from a community art class,
no painstakingly Kinseyian inventories,
no anagram tucked in a World Atlas
where the Tapajós and Amazon rivers meet,
no souvenir (stucco wasp nest?) legible as the one
Miss Bishop left, no tickets stubs,
no letter typed in future perfect:
You will have to lift the shag carpet beneath the oak dresser.
There you will find a key; use it to open:
no love letters, no ashes to say,
the letters were burned.
Not much here: An empty canvas bought for $1.35
still wrapped in cellophane, a bottle
of turpentine too hazardous to dispose of,
Life magazines, a lone wolf spider, some expired meds.
Like I said, nothing here,
and me now, on hands and knees
to sniff around, to root behind,
to put one fist deep in the compost
just to feel the heat
of matter breaking down.about the author