I chose clutter when I read books to you before bedtime,
feeling your warm body pressed against mine, the
smell of you, of sunshine and dirt,
Right before bed, we took Henry for a ride in
the red toy truck that we left out with all
your other toys, you let me finally take you
to your small bed and say goodnight.
The dishes were left dirty on the counter,
the laundry unfolded on the couch.
I made a choice,
to be with you.
I will always choose the labor of love,
the imperfect, stumbling, fervent,
the love that takes so much time and reflection,
there are no right answers,
you and I winged it, together,
in a messy house.
I have no regrets.
and yes, today
I live with clutter, sometimes crazy clutter,
sometimes a tamed clutter, of books you gave me
that I may never read, but they remind me of you.
my grandmother played with the slightly ratty
stuffed lamb back in a little town looking over a
beautiful lake, a quilt that needs repairs that
was a wedding gift to your father and me.
all could be replaceable with new Ikea stuff,
but the old wooden metronome would no longer tick,
the beautiful layered rocks from Namibia that Karen brought me
would be out in garden instead of falling down from the
little shelf in the kitchen where I see them and
remember that part of her life.
So, my life will be cluttered and chaotic,
flute music will be spread around the floor
and poems will tumble randomly at night.
French verbs will be in the wrong tense and
my husband will tell me the same thing ten times,
I'll listen and then he'll do the same for me.
All of a sudden, it's late and the dishes are
undone and the laundry isn't folded and we
fall into bed, our eyelids drooping in a
cluttered house, our breath settling into the
steady rhythm of night.