From “The Whole of Him Collected” by Gregory Loselle

Gregory Loselle



The box of papers on the closet floor
contains his discharge papers from the war,
a couple letters, dog tags: amulets
against prospective dangers, even bets
on futures filed away, here; telegrams
my grandmother amended in shorthand
notes (“May God protect you,”) on their backs;
her death certificate, its seal (not wax
like his diplomas also here with hers)
stamped paper pressed into concentric curves
through pulp and print, disturbing the intent
of text accounting how her life was spent
a quarter century before—why keep
these things? For what? And why disturb their sleep?

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Tribute to the Sonnet


Gregory Loselle: “Some of the information here is documentary—two years after his death, the children of my grandfather’s second wife returned to us the keys to the house their mother had continued to occupy. It had been looted, stripped even of ceiling fixtures (though, tellingly, my grandfather’s books were undisturbed, and while salable compact discs had been taken, the vinyl records from which I’d first learned music with him, during wonderful long evenings in the den, were left behind). A drawerful of half-burnt candles had been dumped onto the living room carpet. But some of the information here is mythic or poetic: the sort of scene we imagine in a simple human preference to remember things as they weren’t. His clothing, for instance—for as much as it forms the subject of this sequence—had been disposed of by the time I reached his closet, though a box of family papers and his shoeshine kit were indeed there, as were his shoe trees. The saints’ relics were, more properly, in his dresser drawer, though I’ve relocated them for my own purposes; and to my chagrin I found a stack of my manuscripts, from adolescence through my first fully realized works, on a shelf behind where his clothes had hung.” (web)


Gregory Loselle is the guest on Rattlecast #58! Click here to watch …

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