Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Just in Case

by Jen Hunt, from the archives

If my clock radio turns 12:01
on day one of the new year
I vow to chuck this roll of yellowed gauze
in donut-shaped tin
tucked in a teapot together with the remains
of my dead grandmother’s
medicine chest

I have moved it
from New Jersey to Dallas
all the way through middle America
and down into my in-laws’ basement up
in Outagamie County, Wisconsin
four times in all

I have made room for this tin
where there was none
in closets of one bedroom student apartments
when three of us occupied
a four computer, five bookshelf, no TV, one car,
graduate-student submarine
When you live with a crib
in your kitchen, you think
about downsizing

In my mind I have
rearranged, released, discarded
this canister a thousand times

Somewhere a purse-lipped docent
at the Historical American Toiletry Museum
is waiting to put a check by “Ordinary Gauze Tin” on her preservation list

If the world does not collapse tomorrow
she can find mine in the dumpster on January 2
Until then, I’m holding on,
just in case