Everything Must Go

by Jessica Greenbaum

As if a gust of wind had me by the throat I began throwing things out –  

last week’s news I might yet read, and this week’s – into the bin, 

papers I might yet need—a coupon, a letter – I would live without them,  

never miss them – so off the desk, and couch. I felt my attachments dissolve  

like salt in hot water, and I began pulling trousers and scarves from drawers,  

and ripping shirts and dresses off hangers as if creating a pile for a bonfire  

in the middle of my room—they meant nothing to me— 

in one hour I was victorious over ambivalence, I took down posters and I  

kept going as if divining for walls and floors, for cabinet shelves 

and counter tops; I was like a fevered despot ousting subjects without  

qualm – even I was surprised by my disregard for what others did not have  

or what still held usefulness – because I was losing my eighteen- 

year-old daughter to time and I was down to the bare bones of the present—  

bareness my only calm, my only comfort. 

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