A world full of joys
    was contained in the toys
    and other bits of junk
    in the old steamer trunk

    holding lives that I led
    and things that I did
    at the foot of my bed
    when I was a kid.

  2. A Chest of Childhood


    A drawer, my bed in Oregon
    in a make-shift basement apartment
    when Mama followed Daddy from Kansas
    to the Army base
    during WW II.

    Then on to Fort Leonard Wood
    in Missouri.
    Daddy went to Germany.
    Mama and I, to Kansas
    to wait out the war.

    I outgrew the drawer.
    Mama outgrew her patience
    waiting for Daddy to come home.

    Finally, one day he arrived,
    But I had outgrown my memory of him.

  3. A Chest of Childhood

    In the in between of our autumn and winter years a quietness has settled in and I’m ready for a change. We are downsizing our lives. Buying a new place in the same town. Hungry for a new adventure. But downsizing has not been as easy as I thought it would be. Choosing what to keep and what to leave behind is not a cut and dried task; it is filled with land-minds of memories.

    I was going through the cedar chest and under winter coats and summer clothes was a box I’d forgot was there. My son’s first set of walking shoes, scuffed and creased, took me back in a leap of years. A Jessie “Toy Story” t-shirt my daughter wore, Awana awards, report cards, post cards from camp… I spent so much time remembering. But, what do you do with all those things? The kids don’t want them, they are storing their own memories of their kids. The second-hand store might want the t-shirt but nothing else and I can’t bring myself to toss them. They go back in the box and back in the chest. The children can deal with it all one day.

    Seasons of living
    A chest full of memories
    time etches in dust.

  4. Childhood Contents

    Poem, story, diary, and book,
    Good Humor chocolate cake pop.
    Seems a breeze, now that I look.
    Poem, story, diary, and book.
    A mom who taught me how to cook,
    A dad who loved to candy shop.
    Poem, story, diary, and book,
    Good Humor chocolate cake pop.

  5. Shirts and Pants

    time to bed
    a closed drawer
    shirts and pants
    folded by
    my mother’s hands
    a dinosaur hides
    in my clothes
    soft glow of blue light
    heavy eyelids close
    the dinosaur plays
    my secret life

  6. Hope Chest

    Bottom right hand drawer
    in the Cherrywood double dresser
    a forbidden treasure trove
    –my brother’s unfinished knitted soaker
    still on its bright green steel needles
    folded in the pattern in the Woman’s Day
    brother off to seminary now
    the house hideously empty

    –the quilt top from my Dad’s Aunt Goldie
    in a pattern called Drunkard’s Path
    bright red bandana swirls worked with
    unbleached muslin its million tiny stitches
    but with a name so despicable
    my humorless Mother stuffed it naked
    (not even a shroud of tissue paper)
    into the wooden depths forever

    since the drawer was forbidden
    at every opportunity I snooped
    for additions and subtractions
    one day unrolling a ribbon twined
    –genealogy Auntie’d wanted us to finish

    Mother believing it smacked of witchcraft
    refusing to read or write on tiny penciled lines
    to tell the rest of our story just the word
    Mormon enough to set her off having been
    raised in the prophet Joseph Smith’s hometown
    but I knew the yellowing scroll was there
    spreading its curling pages and although
    I couldn’t decipher its tale I knew it held
    secrets as sacred as the Kewpie doll
    I settled it against, tucked the pieces
    of its broken leg back into the twisted Kleenex

    the drawer heavy with its burdens and hard
    to pull out silently with its double wooden knobs
    but now and then I’d visit surreptitiously
    visiting the forgotten and unwanted
    the two of us trying to rescue each other.

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