How smooth and slim, the doors of my cupboards.
Quiet personages, they wear no shine but stand tall,
as if to say everything in my house is in order:
rows of cups on a dresser, each kissing the next,
folded towels whose pinks and lavenders
tone perfectly in the landing’s silence.
It is not so. When I open a door I come upon
skirts herded too closely, a cardigan
drooping lopsidedly. And here is a trio
of metal hangers locked in inextricable embrace,
a strap dangling from a shoulder bag.
I’m ashamed, I who loved cupboards in the long ago
I can’t haul back: the one in the eaves’ slope
where we crouched among trunks feeling
for loose boards which would lead us to secrets,
that queen of wardrobes which held
a black gown with sequins scattered like stars
and armouries of corsets, brassières—
was my body to come to all this?
Am I clad in so much shame because order
seems to mean lucidity and that nothing good
can grow from any kind of confusion? But white
potato flowers are blooming on the rubbish heap
in the garden and sometimes in overstuffed drawers
I find the inklings of ideas like pearly eggs clinging
to the damp underside of a decaying branch.
And look, I’ve moved the yellowing pillow
hunched over the shoe rail in my cupboard,
found the memory of the stone I lost
from my ring. Why does the oval of milky
green jade I can’t replace, mean so much?