Days of Nothing but Time


He has not looked inside the hope chest
since his wife died a dozen years ago
and now he is an old man himself.
Take it with you, will you, he tells my wife.
Here’s where she got married, he says.
Didn’t you get married at the same time, she says.
I guess I did, he says.
We only had that one argument.
I wish I had done more.
Look at that, somebody’s hair,
he says, opening the envelope.
Does it say? No, it doesn’t.

The black and white photos.
Black carbon paper.
His daughter’s report card.
The one who died early.
The silences recorded by the video camera.
The invisibility of the other.
I’ve never looked at some of this stuff, he says.
I’m not going to take this, she says,
but I’ll pull out a few pictures.
Look at these baby shoes, she says.
They’re your kids’ shoes.
Are they?
My wife holds up a snapshot for the camera.
The hope chest is a forest of cedar.
Time was different before the skies opened.
Now there is nothing but time and sky.

Jim Bodeen
26 October 2013

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