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?

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