by Steven Pirani

A home is a biography,

That's what the time inside your walls taught me,

Pulling out your tax records scribbled with your handwriting,

Pulling out photos of your best friends,

Pulling out writings about my long-gone grandmother,

You hoarder,

You treasure keeper.

We were filling a dumpster in your backyard,

A bucket filled with papers and pens and binders,

With the things we didn't want to keep of you,

That we didn't need.

Instead, we stuck to picking the bits and pieces of your life,

We wished to cherish:

We couldn't have kept it all,

For you had kept so much,

Like those 25 years of Valentine's Day cards,

None of them for you,

All of them to your long-gone mother.

For a moment, I understood your need to save it all,

Like me, you couldn't decide what parts to keep,

That each fiber makes up the person,

For we are both our trash and our treasures.

That day it was raining,

And while the edges of your books and binders, 

All those that I had cast astray,

As they wrinkled and folded in the drizzle,

I thought of how curious this world was:

How you,

Just one person,

Had filled a bed with your body,

But a house with your soul.

And then we pulled the car out of the driveway,

In our trunk, the mirror you looked at yourself in every morning,

And for a moment I thought your face had burned into it,

Had left a stain.

That was for a moment:

In reality,

We simply looked alike.