The Attic,
the House
People are history
but their belongings stay
around. Here Aunt Vivian

looks like a balloon.
She popped. She's dead.
The picture stays on, though,

her stretched thin smile
survived her all this while,
became her legacy.

The whole attic stinks
of permanence.
Up here my ancestry,

downstairs my tomb in preparation.
Already here some dust
has settled on me:

a baby carriage where my son
and then my cat slept
while I aged,

a baseball glove, some letters.
What's mine downstairs will soon be here,
joining the majority.

It only waits down there
in order to be me;
my favorite chair

stands stuffed, smug
as a monument, gravely
brown in its corner

about to inflate
for the ascent.

--- ©2009 William Matthews
From Don't Leave Hungry
Fifty Years of
Southern Poetry Review

James Smith, Editor
The University of Arkansas Press
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