Grace and Peace to you.
Into cardboard boxes goes everything I own,
sheets and teacups, books and wrenches,
the things I need, the pans, those handy pliers,
and the things I cling to, letters and pictures,
and the little carved box from Vienna.
You’d learn about me, sorting through
the poetry, the musical instruments,
the photographs of kids and kin, the gifts,
the art we hang, the art we keep in case
we ever have a worthy wall.
The movers, impressively, can wrap up anything—
chairs, skis, a painting easel, a wheelbarrow—
and fit it in. It’s all here, everything.
And what, insurers query, if the truck
should crash, catch fire and roll into the river?
All would be lost. A policy is wise. Sign here.
A bridge from this house to the next.
Yet, in between, in the homeless moment,
all my possessions elsewhere,
neither the boxes nor their dowry matter.
For a moment, I am free.
I stop and ask, so what?
What if the fire and river had their way
and there were no boxes, no furniture,
no plates or lamps or neckties?
There would be the other truck, of course,
driven by broad-shouldered angels, kind,
non-smokers every one, but strong as elephants.
I’ve never told them my address. They know.
I would settle somewhere calm and unpack
the prayers that have gone with me,
the blessings securely wrapped and tucked
into the suitcase of my heart,
the love I’ve dragged from home to home
and never once have lost.
I would unwrap and set upon the mantle of my mind
the bond, these decades old, I’ve kept with friends.
And here—oh look! I’d almost forgotten!—
the mystery of my divine belovedness.
I’d uncrate the gift of this very morning—
it’s raining now—
and set it out and gaze upon it lovingly.
Be done with cardboard, soul, sell everything.
The dearest things are those you don’t possess.
In the empty house of this moment
sit boxes you never filled, have never seen.
Go ahead, now, and unpack.
Copyright © Steve Garnaas-Holmes