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your stuff is here, you're in heaven

by Alyssa Payne

Museums are a product of absence

I—your curator


Your room became a thing that once held you

I—tasked to strip you out


I—tasked to decide what is important enough to keep, what objects, photographs, tissues, papers, carpet stains, ripped cotton bed sheets, journal entries from 1980 to 2015, text messages, cat bowls, cat food, your cats, that one t-shirt you couldn’t give back to your ex, LA Lakers memorabilia, diplomas, plane tickets, gift receipts, hats, and all of it that held your memory the most


I cannot decide


Your bed is already made

as if you expected to return

The sheets smell of you, still

I can see you sleeping, still

As I strip this mattress

I stand still hoping you’ll come back

tell me it was a only a dream

When the moment is gone, the dead have not risen

You have not risen

Forgive me for stuffing your favorite duvet in a brown box


In a corner

A box of jerseys collect dust

A box of slippers sit unworn

A box of sweaters unfold and fold, some with tags

Did you know you wouldn’t have time to wear them?

Forgive me for wearing one, it’s soft

Forgive me I am barefoot where you once stood

Your socks are too large for my feet

About the Author

Alyssa Payne is a poet in central California.

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