There are boxes stacked all through the house
collected memories of us
of how we’ve tried to make our lives together
each one is a time capsule
of thwarted hopes for a domestic paradise
a collection of objects, a trigger
for what we thought our love would be.
Is our love still in the Central American rug and Frida Kahlo trinkets?
Remember those souvenirs we bought together
as we blissfully made Guatemala our temporary home
way back when our love was new
but today, they just look like artefacts
an aesthetic ideal of how we wanted our love to be.
The box of my children’s treasures, their drawings
the many books that have filled their sleep
with some kind of hope for tomorrow
that beloved toy rabbit and panda they had both loved unwaveringly
all of this glares at you, like cliches of the nuclear family dream
museum pieces of an era that slipped through your fingers
the way opportunities do.
Then there are his boxes, Robert’s
filled with memorabilia and old ideas
from days before he said he loved me
still unpacked and yet always travelling
from house to house like an unshakeable song in his head.
I close the lid on this final box
get back to leaving this house
empty and without a trace of us
without a trace of life.