Remnants by Sean Hanrahan

Remnants

Boxed up remnants of their wedding,
a surprisingly full set of china except
a missing water glass. It may have shattered
twenty years ago. We uncover
an alternating silver rim and floral
pattern I can only faintly remember
using once or twice at Thanksgiving
dinner when my grandparents came,
and my sister and I were allowed wine.

Should I be concerned how my parents
are giving pieces of themselves away,
before death? Every time we visit,
they get lighter and my husband
and I get heavier with objects
we can’t use, but accept out of an
obligation to remember their taste
becoming superimposed upon our own.
An odd number of nearly everything
as if my parents’ possessions have a sentient
need to be incomplete or ill-sorted.

We store my parents’ lifelines,
unceremoniously, in our basement
for the amusement of spiders. I should be
grateful my parents are, in their way,
preparing me for their eventual demise,
but instead of spending time with my
husband and me when we are visiting,
they haphazardly clean out their
closets as if to ward off mortality
with needless tasks. They subtract
time for the preservation of objects,
a familial archaeology. We all huff
and sigh as we consign second-
hand memories to unswept darkness.

*

Sean Hanrahan is a Philadelphian poet originally hailing from Dale City, Virginia. He is the author of the full-length collection Safer Behind Popcorn (2019 Cajun Mutt) and the chapbooks Hardened Eyes on the Scan (2018 Moonstone) and Gay Cake (2020 Toho). His work has also been included in several anthologies, including Moonstone Featured Poets, Queer Around the World, and Stonewall’s Legacy, and several journals, including Impossible Archetype, Poetica Review, and Voicemail Poems. He has taught classes titled A Chapbook in 49 Days and Ekphrastic Poetry and hosted poetry events throughout Philadelphia.