I Don’t Know What To Call This

my life is measured out
in cans of cat food
and empty toilet rolls
in flattened cereal boxes
and gnawed apple cores
it’s load upon load of laundry
glaucoma drops—twice a day
and 4:00 p.m. tots of sherry.

my life is pieced together
in yards of dental floss
man-handled tubes of toothpaste
cold tea bags and dumped
coffee grounds
it’s scads of used tissues
in purses and pockets along with
half-filled bottles of hand-sanitizer

it’s scooped out in pellet-litter
and cups of birdseed
handfuls of peanuts-in-the-shell
and jugs of water
ceramic pots with serrated silver spoonfuls
of marmalade or jam

my life is milk-stains
on a maple floor
dirt in corners, single cat whiskers
caught in rugs
it’s kitchen knives
ritually washed again and again
and plastic tabs from bread bags

Imagine if I could count all these things in reverse;
I’d return to the first moment
when I could measure nothing at all—

I would be unborn.

Kathleen Mortensen © 2017

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