My Mother’s Decluttering Is Gumming up the Works
I get rid of five teapots.
She mails me my great-grandmother’s tea seat, bubbled-wrapped.
I find new homes for plastic bins full of upholstery fabric.
She ships yards of stiff stuff too beautiful to refuse
but destined to sit uncut in a cabinet.
I give her three pairs of earrings
and she sends me three different pairs.
It’s a perfect barter of the things we cling to.
I tell her I don’t want that French clock
and she holds it for me anyway,
anchoring me to the earth’s rotation,
so I get sneaky, knit shawls for her, handmade treasures
she’ll feel obliged to keep, fixing her to this planet-sized
walk-in closet a little longer.
Sarah Carleton writes poetry, edits fiction, plays the banjo, and knits obsessively in Tampa, Florida. Her poems have appeared in numerous publications, including Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, Cider Press Review, The Wild Word, Valparaiso, and New Ohio Review. Sarah’s poems have received nominations for Pushcart and Best of the Net. Her first collection, Notes from the Girl Cave, was published in 2020 by Kelsay Books.