Aging

SPRING CLEANING

Faces and smiles and places
Memories
First you simply kept them
Ajumble
Stacked as they arrived
Childhood’s toy box
Clutter without order

Faces and scenes and places
Chains
Slowly making sense
Linking
Scenes and categories
Laying them away
In larders of the past

Loves and faces and places
Storing
Building, steady building
Walls
Streets and houses
Order upon order
Mapping out a life

Names and facts and learning
Faster
Peopling your own town
Sunsets
Tears wept by you alone
Shames known to you alone
Whose colors never fade

Names and dates and living
Pictures
There was a time when the least
Thought
Would evoke them, obedient,
To the front edge
Of consciousness

Names and dates and faces
Pastimes
They begin to come
Reluctant
A raised voice, repeated call
To bring them out
Foolish and apologetic

Names and friends and faces
Lifelines
Grow punctuating gaps
Unimportant
Not worth the effort
To demand, insist
They obey your summons

Lives and friends and faces
History
Need help now to make them come
Reminders
They answer another’s call
Interrupted in their packing
To answer once again

Incidents and friends and faces
Lifelines
Like a neighborhood gone
Bad
Some have left forever
Their empty rooms unheeding
Your futile calls

Lives and loves and sorrows
Humanity
Made into a desolation
Emptiness
Wind flapping doors and shutters
None left to remember
Ghost town whose ghosts have left

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