there is a dusty old box
in the back of my mind crumpled and damaged
from all the things piled on top of it
sitting alone in the back of the closet
and each time I moved it moved with me
to the back of another dark closet
crushed under more forgotten memories
and once a year I would pull it out
rummaging through the contents
reading every card
one of them signed by the entire Ohio gas company
none of these men I had ever met
I would look at the numerous copies of the cemetery plot
wondering why one simply wasn’t enough
curse at the religious mementos
printed with meaningless prayer
with the understanding that praying for the dead
was merely a hollow gesture
carefully unfold the torn and brittle wedding certificate,
birth certificate,
more copies of the death certificate
I slid the plastic church rosary between my fingers
running them over every cheaply made bead
rang a tarnished silver bell
carefully studied a marble broach I had never seen
the contents of one’s life-
there were of course more at one time
but much had been sold,
given away or just discarded over the years
like the box and its contents
I no longer needed it
because all that was important
beyond the material things
and piles of unnecessary paper
was now safely stored in a crumpled old box
in the back of my mind

Selected byNolcha Fox
Image credit:Diane Picchiottino

Ken Tomaro is a writer living in Cleveland, Ohio. His work centers around everyday life with depression. Sometimes blunt, often dark but always grounded in reality.

He has 4 full-length collections of poetry: Home Is Where the Headstones Are, An Angry Year, Paralysis & Potholes and Perogies (through Alien Buddha Press) available on Amazon.