A widow collects her life,
and the evidence of her spouse’s,
yet stacks of flannel shirts
remain, sleeves crossed in contemplation,
wingtipped shoes curved with the proof
of feet. From cartons cobwebbed in corners,
I dislodge gravy-stained linens from meals
forgotten, tangled wind chimes and their melancholy
song. Cradled among impossibly
narrow T-shirts, jeans paved with patches:
my vibrator swaddled
like a mummified baby.
I recognize it, of course.
Remember the afternoon in the drug store
where I spied the flesh-toned package,
an image of a woman on its front,
device to forehead,
eyes raised to some benevolent god.
I thought I had entombed the vibrator beneath photos
of old loves. Offered my pre-marital pleasure
to the eager jaws of a trash room incinerator.
And what pleasure. Each lover exquisite
now in the tumble of memory: pink and white, olive or cocoa,
pillow-haired and whisky-tongued.
But, it gave pleasure too. The motor’s early hours purr,
a melody to savor later when meetings droned
and co-workers grated.
For the Altos, I bake buck-a-slice chocolate pudding cake. Pack
water-blemished sheet music, faux Hermés scarves,
a bread machine that never met a kitchen.
I consider adding the vibrator, too, but no one would buy
a used vibrator at a garage sale. Even this one that,
I discovered this morning, still hums.