What I Found When I Shook Out My Kitchen Rug

My beloved great grandmother, for starters,
She was baking a ricotta pie
A pair of My Little Pony skates, circa 1985
Seven lizards, minus their tails
An irrational fear of falling down stairs
250 hand-written sentences on responsibility
Blue chalk dust from a four-square court
Clair de Lune on flute.

The harder I shook, the more that fell—
The pursuit of perfection
Paired with a compulsivity to count
One cup of black coffee—no sugar, no cream
A Pentax camera with a lens flare
An application to Princeton, unsent
A long-term experiment in not caring,
hypothesis correct.

You’d think by now, it’d all be out,
That subject-predicate habit
A tendency to smile and shirk
The insatiable need to scratch till I bleed
Rushing through the downhill
To climb the mountain again
Unmatched silverware and unmade beds
Beginnings without endings
And one friend request from my father, still pending.

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