Nesting by Mary Ann Honaker

He calls it “nesting,”
this pruning of things owned,
this mixing of like things
from once-disparate households.

So I settle into the couch
surrounded by boxes of gift wrap
and Christmas ornaments.

He’s in the kitchen
thoughtfully rearranging pots,
dragging empty cabinets across
the linoleum.

On top of one box
is a collection of cards.
Some addressed singly to him,
some to him and her,

and on top of that,
torn with what must have been
rage and passion, an arts magazine,
with her picture
still visible among the shreds
smiling up at me.

I sift the bits into the trashcan.
I sort, with an odd, airy,
detached compassion,
tiny empty boxes
and sparkling bags
that once contained
gifts for her,

from Christmas cards
addressed to them both,

from shreds of ribbon
and birthday cards
from his mother.

Now I know how he’s felt
all these days,
when moving the bed
we find my ex’s boot beneath,

or when mail arrives
addressed to him,
which we gather on a shelf
to hand over
to mutual friends.

With my pink-handled box knife
which my new love gave me
(because every “independent woman”
should have a drawer of tools, he said,)

I slice the seams
of a packaging box
addressed to my love
and the one he loved before;

I fold it into the stack
of gift boxes from my mother.
I press it all,
paper and ribbons and bows,

mine and his past,
and those printed and unprinted
remembrances of loves
whom we no more touch,
and will not touch again,
into one large plastic crate.

I press the image of her face
deeper into the trash bag.
I am nesting, nesting.
I tie off the bag
and dump it in the pail outside.


Published by

Jeremiah Walton

Jeremiah Walton is wary of writing a bio.

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