Another thing I learned from both of my parents: a love of small things in small drawers. My mother owns a range of antique spool cabinets; for awhile, my parents were seeking them out at antique shops. More recently my father has been on a toolchest-buying project, the logical outgrowth of a series of antique tool purchases he's made in the past year or so as people shed their vintage machinists' and drafters' tools through eBay. I see Bisley multidrawer cabinets and I covet them, want to fill them with all manner of little things.
Saturday, my summer students traveled to Columbus for the Latino Festival. I wasn't able to go because I thought I was sick, though it turned out that I simply had more severe allergies than in past years and needed some pseudoephedrine in my system. When the students returned, several of them showed up at my house bearing gifts of jewelry, little rings they'd picked out and had my flaming-sworded friend try on because her fingers are close in size to my fingers. On one, a tiny seagull flies through a tiny seascape, topped by a tinier moon. On the other, six stylized waves curl carefully, one over another over another.
For the first time in months, I feel new poems coming. "We used to torture lightning bugs," one of my Clevelander students told me tonight after a reading. "We'd smash them and put them on our ears as earrings." "You mean their phosphorescence?" I said. "Yeah," she replied. "Can I have that for a poem?" I asked her. She said yes. I wrote my way home, walking through town in the dark with my little notebook, stopping over and over in patches of light to write the morning's steaming, the lawns ablink with lightning bugs, an old poem's cracking open to become something new and even more difficult than before.
I picked a daisy and plucked its petals and learned that he loves me.
I want a chest that will hold all these scraps.