. . . open every closet in the future and evict
all the mind’s ghosts. . .
~Hafiz, trans. Daniel Ladinsky
Some closets are full
of sentimental things that mattered once:
toys and photographs, letters, old poems.
The ghosts tiptoe around the dusty boxes;
their bony toes rattle on the floor.
The ghosts moon over a ragged doll,
caress a tattered book.
Other closets are stuffed with
things of the mind, things of the heart:
things I might have done,
things I might have made,
people I might have loved.
The ghosts shake their powdery heads.
Ah, they whisper, your precious past.,
so sad, so sweet, so—passing.
The ghosts are not so easy to evict.
They cajole, they whine,
touch all my soft spots.
They look like my mother,
my dead sister,
the men who came so close.
They say they remember
all the stories I have to tell,
so how can I send them away?
When I look fierce at them,
You are future ghosts! I scream,
You are not the past,
you are not even memory,
but fear of memory and its distortion.
You are not keepsakes, but anticipation of loss.
You are anxieties of times to come,
you cover my pasts with corruption,
you haunt my futures with regret.
The ghosts whimper, they cringe.
I stamp my feet, wave my broom.
They flutter away like ragged moths.
The future becomes nothing but itself
and all my things, nothing but things.