archives fall 2007



So You Know Who We Are

The wisteria and bill collectors colluded
to swallow our household whole so we dismantled
it, rivet and splinter, made two piles on the lawn:

1. belongings the quality of lead
2. belongings the quality of dandruff. 

The blue stoop, its yellow roses,
a peepshow each time the door opened,
my dog-eared book on serial killers,
the painting with the wandering eye.
We stacked all our stuff on the yard
like we had done a dozen times before.

My father insisted that staying
was akin to calcifying. He hated the geologic
permanence buried in heaps under the grass. 
He buried his employ instead.
My mother sewed nickels into her hem.

We children were assigned the task
of packing only the most relevant bits of us
into milk crates stolen from the grocery store.
We wrote our names in tiny letters
on the walls of our rooms
to put down a trace of our stay.  
The leave-behinds
we picked over:
a giant jar of buttons,
my mother’s engagement ring,
a red satin jumpsuit,
a doll with galaxies painted onto her eyes,
strands and strands of hair. 


Carmen Gimenez Smith lives in New Mexico, where she teaches creative writing and children’s literature. Her work has most recently appeared in Xantippe, Chicago Review, and Fairy Tale Review.