Everything’s here, unused, but orderly,
as if ready for use: a mint or two;
his nail clipper; the little scissors he
trimmed his moustache with; scribbled things to do;
his watch; a neatly folded handkerchief
that spills a scattering of change; the pen
that leaked into his pocket now and then.
I almost hear him now: Don’t touch! as if
I were pilfering his tangled hearing aids;
this snarl of keys; his red Swiss Army knife
hiding its tiny arsenal of blades
like legs tucked under. Glasses, wallet, wife—
each item’s here. Though, useless as it is,
I don’t know why. Except that it was his.
—from Rattle #56, Summer 2017
Rhina P. Espaillat: “What a comfort to believe, as the Romantics seemed to, that shared settings and common possessions are somehow sympathetic and attuned to our losses! But the experience of, for example, widowhood, forces us to acknowledge an internal solitude, a human absence, that only sentient beings can understand or allay.”