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Winter/Spring 2020

Estate Sale, Indian Hills Country Club

James Wyshynski


Her handwriting on the boxes stacked to the ceilings
is clear and easy-to-read: here, coral/orange jewelry,
there, panty liners, over there, Xmas balls, 2 inch diameter.

On the hoarder spectrum, she’s a devotee of Apollo,
a student of Socrates: the world an exercise in ordering:
time, place, cost, a trail of yellow sticky notes leading

one wisp of paper at a time into the heavens
or down into the molten recesses of what
lay beyond the reach of her pen. When I

bump into a woman (riffling through the dresses
hanging from a curtain rod in the shower), she
turns to me and says, Insanity. Hard not argue

with that or the bag of empty Salem packs,
each neatly flattened. But I’ve known this
joy – of putting things into a place, of sorting

the plot twists and intricate scrimshaw of a lived
life and boxing and shelving it – the mind at work.
It’s hard not to see her mania made out of cardboard

and ziplock bags and not try to imagine that box
(what number was it, what did it hold?) that tipped
Apollo into Dionysus. The boxes teeter.

Let them fall. Let the rain fall and the wood rot.
Let the skin slip from her bones, and her bones
turn chalk-white, scoured free of what drove her.


[Check out James Wyshynski's back porch interview]