II. The Storage Facility
Dear Mom, I’m here at René’s Van & Storage. What a scene. All your brother’s furniture sprawled in an aisle. This place is an arctic echo chamber moated by monstrous locker ghosts. No decorating scheme, not one single fragment of gelt to be seen. No Louis XVI armoires, no Persian rugs, no Gallé vases. All the crème has already been skimmed. And re-skimmed. A rico’s leftovers. The workers have staked out their pieces: One man’s surplus makes another man’s jewels. Let’s pray that one man gets the round cherry table and eight unmatched chairs so that his family can dine in sublime harmony and laugh together over Sunday’s menudo. Or posole. Unlike family dinners at your brother’s: baked chicken, brisket, squash pudding, apple sauce, honey cake and sherbet. Such superb cuisine. Such a deflated ego. You were treated like a Queen. I was cremated. Mom, you know how it goes: You really don’t care for the relative but hope to land quelque chose when they go. It’s like ensnaring part of your DNA, isn’t it? The crème has settled like dust elsewhere. (That’s another poem.) All I see are boxy, bulky buffets and bedside and coffee and side tables and bookcases and hat stands. I open one of the desk drawers. The workers are staring. Mom, you won’t believe what I’ve found: a sealed box of German Plastiklips. A thousand clips like rainbow runes enter my purse (really your old navy blue patent leather purse that I didn’t dump at Goodwill). You’re smiling. One wave of my arm, and the men know the rest is all theirs––they have become heirs: dressers for the nieces, headboards for the twins, mirrors for a mujer. They’re loading the trucks already, Mom. It’s time to say another prayer.