Mystery in the Dust


Mystery in the Dust

dust on the box 


the dark of the shelf

the seclusion of the resting place




since it was put there

out of the way

sealed for protection

until its contents was needed

on that rainy day

it never rained enough


now some ten years later

that need went unfelt

the dust undisturbed

the contents a mystery


keep it

open it

discard it without a look

let go of the unknown

gift it

sell it


the space it takes

isn’t needed for anything 

why hold on

does it hold back

does it lead

to other unopened

forgotten pieces of the past

whose past

no writing on the box

no indication of who

put it there

or when

except for the dust

There is real life experience behind this piece. There was a box on a shelf in my basement that went unopened for more than ten years. It had no marking but one gentle shake reminded me what was in it – dishes – cup & saucers & such that were part of a dinnerware set. Mugs not tea cups in this house. And by mugs I mean venti not tall. 

I did not open it to make sure I was right. I donated them without looking. It was part of a shift to me holding on to less. I did a major flush of books, tee-shirts, knick-knacks many of which didn’t even have any sentimental hold me. Even those that had emotional resonance for me I let go. I realized I’d rather miss something than hold on it in such a way there no space for new.

I am more of a sentimentalist than I realize but not for objects but for smells or sounds. Hearing Jimmy Gilmer’s Sugar Shack recently (thanks to America on Coffee) I had a wave of non-specific memory from my teen years when this was a big hit. ‘Non-specific’ in that I had no moment to recall but a sense of me hearing it, enjoying it while wearing penny loafers and bulky saggy socks & feeling pretty cool.


Similarly the lilies of the valley are in bloom in my front & back gardens. The scent is my Mother – I want to say personified – a memory not tucked away in a dusty box. These things bring back more vividly people places & time than things do. I have some San Francisco mugs but they merely testify that I was there rather than take my mind back to being there.


Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee in Washington at 2018’s – sweet,eh?

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