Poems of Healing

Redoing The Pantry At Fifty

In the kitchen pantry behind the jars of plum jam,
pickled eggplant and garlic, I keep seven steel boxes
labeled with the year I put away a few things
along with my eyes, my ears, my heart and my hands.

In this box from ‘65, I keep my brother’s violin, a golden
framed mirror, my eyes and my ears.

In this one from ’67, I save the war, a map of the Old City,
an encyclopedia and my eyes.

In the one marked ‘69, I keep the copper plates
of the etchings, two candlelabra and my hands
smelling of kerosine.

And in this one labled 1970, I keep Channaleh;
her body crushed under a Greek train,
the fifty liras I owed her and my shivah-sitting eyes.

Into this unmarked box I shoved my heart,
my ears, my eyes and my hands
tangled in red ribbons of the men’s laughter.

This one from ‘79 holds a few photographs
from Paris, an unused train ticket to Nice
and my heart. My French heart.

In this one marked Old Stuff , I keep Chagall, Picasso,
O’Keefe and Woolf in black and white, pictures
of their faces and their hands along with my own hands
and my heart pounding.

These are my steel boxes.

It is time to redo the pantry shelf in the kitchen
this year, time to bring in baskets
made of hair, silk, rafia and a little clay.

Esther Kamkar, Palo Alto, California artist and poet. Poems, poetry, writing, published works - footer logo

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