Like Her by by J.D. Isip

Thirty-eight, maybe forty boxes—
how does that divide by nine marriages?
Old photo albums we don’t look through
stacked sideways, shut for years—
A hat box her third husband gave her
from Italy—where she said he died
At least to her—stuffed with Christmas cards
the old 70’s, foil kind—flimsy
And showy, now frail, like her

I’ve begged her to dump them, dump them all
but she protests, she pulls some trick—
A yellowed picture of my dad in a fading, brown suit
or my brother’s first card from his father (not mine)—
I digress. To me, it’s a waste
like being married nine times

To hold onto the crumbling pieces of a past
that rots away in a rented storage space
Each box as empty as they are full

Married nine times—unfathomable
as these old boxes, stuffed, overflowing
Contents far too daunting, too consuming to explore—
probably not enough to learn from, or care for
To me, it’s a waste—I’m not like her—
I’d throw them away
Clean up and move on.

J.D. Isip’s academic writings, poetry, plays, and short stories have appeared (or will appear) in a number of publications including The Louisville Review, Changing English, Revista Aetenea, St. John’s Humanities Review, Teaching American Literature, The Citron Review, Poetry Quarterly, Scholars & Rogues, Mused, and The Copperfield Review. He is a doctoral student in English at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

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