If it no longer fits, dispose of it.
This is a mantra I forced myself to memorize at 18
as I purged my childhood bedroom of all evidence
of a life. I packed cardboard boxes to the brim
until they spilled over with love letters from ghosts,
fraying paperback books I no longer had the imagination for,
too-tight clothing only my younger body could haunt.
I moved like a hurricane that night, whisking it all
into numbered piles and plastic bags until nothing remained.
And I remember looking around that shell of a space
not knowing whether to laugh or cry or simply be.
All of this making of a girl packaged up neatly and ready
to be sent away— to live other lives apart from this one,
to grace junkyards or bookshelves or new pairs of hands.
Who knows what sort of life my old one now lives?
I have since built life in new spaces.
I call home a thousand different places now:
wherever I can fall asleep with a smile pasted to the ceiling,
in faces I don’t quite yet memorize the precise angles of,
in springtime and newness and something elusive called hope.
tonight you drive me home with
one hand on the wheel, the other in mine—
and somehow I just know that despite all I have thrown away
and all I have sent off to wage wars that will never concern me:
this I will keep for myself a little while longer,
this gesture of safety, this promise of sweetness,
and I will wear it around just so the world
can see how perfectly it fits.