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Volumes on shelves

tightly packed spine to spine

more on the floor

stacked up cobwebbed besides

files on my desk,

by the door, stuffing drawers

space occupied

overflowed mustified

in each cupboard

or rack, every cabinet wall

by stale thoughts, old effects

artifacts filmed with dust.

Possessions! -- it’s clear

they possess us instead

collect multiply

extend their domain

however we winnow

whatever consign

re-form their battalions

weigh on our minds

like the pumice

that rained down Vesuvius Day

entombing past lives

in gray scenes from Pompeii.

So here’s to the stuff

we never can lose

this gear that surrounds us

this crypt we don’t choose.

Version first published in May Day: An Anthology for International Worker's Day (Moonstone Press, May 2021)

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