Our Lady of Boxes

A box for you
And a box for me

A box for the mother
Another for the father

Boxes and boxes of bad memories set aside to gather dust
A box of bad memories set open on the table

and polished until nothing is left
but a beautiful blaze of burning fear

A box for family traditions,
like liquor and incest and therapy bills

A box in which your brother whispers
I always thought you were coming on to me

A box of I’m sorry
A box of don’t apologize

A box for the first time someone called you beautiful
and you believed they meant it

A box for the boy who kissed you by surprise, sweetly
A box for the boy who kissed you by surprise so hard it hurt and made you cry

A box for boy you slapped,
and then you cried, and then he died

A box for the woman you never kissed. The women.
All those beautiful real women,

big bodied and pungent, demanding
that you think, feel, love yourself first

A box for introspection
A box for flinging yourself into the breach

A box for things that go bump in the night,
bad dreams, blurred reflections in the mirror

of people you don’t know, the glittering
of ceilings in sunlight and broken glass

A box for pain that stops,
And another for pains that never go away

A box for kinks and twists and aches that never go away
A box for urges unacted. A box for answers to questions unasked

A box for the prude. A box for perverts who deny it
A box for perverts who lay claim and joy in the name

A box for blue eyes. A box for freckles and roses
A box for sweet scents you want to remember

A box for the tall dark stamens of magenta flowers,
tender and evasive. A box for solstice dancing

A box for an oddly beautiful sunset before a blurry orange moonrise
A box of rainbows beating at the edges of the sky

A tiny box, almost invisible,
for an infinite blaze of glory

6 responses to “Our Lady of Boxes

  1. Perfect timing…Holy Spirit timing…In therapy I’ve been exploring how, when, and why I’ve (had to, in some instances) “compartmentalize” my life.

  2. I like this as an alternate to the concept of memories as pearls on a string. A string of pearls indicates some homogeneity and implied equivalence of each particular event/memory. This is not true, in my experience. There are certainly some memories I want to keep walled off, or at least not wear as a daily (intrusive or painful) adornments in my mind! Closed or open, boxes give us some sense of control over how the past impacts us. Whether the control is “real” or true, is a different question, I think. 🙂

  3. I wad reading this and at first I took the boxes as sort of mandated gifts to folks in our lives – as I continued reading they began to seem more like check boxes on a bucket list. As always your writing makes me think.

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