boxes

one day
you get an offer you can’t refuse
and you say “yes”
and start packing
and in that short, one syllable exhale,
you turn your life upside down.

for two straight weeks
day in and day out,
your family
and strangers alike
come in and help you
put your belongings,
both public and private,
into liquor boxes.
then into trucks
then into the new space.

and when all the boxes
are brought in
and stacked
and stacked
and stacked,
and stacked
and stacked
and stacked,
they leave
to go back to their
orderly abodes
and you wave bye
and go back inside
to try to find a place to
sit and rest.
for just a minute, though,
because
you’re only
part way through this journey.

you’ve thrown out
and shed
and given away
many, many, many things
because the reality is
that you only have
half the space now
and
there’s still so very, very much
to situate.

you open boxes
packed by other people
and you’re surprised
to find things
you didn’t even remember
you had.
and sometimes,
many times,
you remember where
you were when you got it.
and though you remember the appeal
it had at the time,
you put it up for
adoption
because
there’s simply not room for everything.

you sift through,
sometimes tempted to
send things away
if they can’t
justify their existence,
if they can’t earn their keep
with obvious, undeniable function.
and other times you come across
something that just makes you smile
or even laugh out loud
and you realize that
laughter may not
dry you off after a shower,
but it can cleanse
nevertheless.

you spend
every day
wondering where to put things
and eventually you find a place
and the satisfaction of knowing
that this thing
fits right here
and will stay here forever and ever
is immeasurable.
but you open more boxes the next day,
and you prioritize all over again,
sometimes moving the things placed
so carefully the day before
to make room for something that now
seems more essential.

after a week,
people say things like
“i trust you’re settled in by now,”
and you feel like a
failure
or worse
because there are
still
unopened boxes
everywhere
and storage shelves
in the kitchen
and suitcases
in the bathroom.

things get broken,
though not as many
as you might expect,
and it’s funny
how pillowcases
still elude you,
but you can put your hands on the tiniest
little oddball
wire support
for the lamp
that you never used all that much
because it lived in the guest room.
and when you produce that
tiny little oddly-shaped wire
moments before you husband
tosses the seemingly-broken lamp
on the truck, sealing its fate,
his “huh”
is dressed in surprise
with maybe
just maybe
a splash of admiration.