In the Basement

When you drag out the air mattress
blooming with roses of green and black mold;
when you peel back cardboard flaps
and find holes in the bellies of plush bears,
birdseed and stuffing snagged in their fur;
when you’ve bundled the mattress and toys
into trash bags and tugged those bags to the curb,
along with the lamp from your father’s workbench,
boxes of circuit boards, paperbacks stiff with damp;
once you’ve knocked down the thickest cobwebs,
smoothed and folded the bubble wrap,
taken your broom to last year’s leaves;
once you’ve cleared enough space to walk
partway through the bottommost chamber
of your home’s heart; once you’ve quit
coughing and gone up to shower off
most of the itch and grime, then maybe
you can sleep without the pills.

Merrill Oliver Douglas studied in the writing program at Sarah Lawrence College, and she earned an MA in English from Binghamton University in 1982. Her most recent publications are in A Narrow Fellow, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, Barrow Street and San Pedro River Review. She lives near Binghamton, N.Y., where she runs a freelance writing business.

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3 Responses to In the Basement

  1. Whoah! Yep, it’s that bad. And that good when the clutter is cleared.

  2. Pingback: Merrill Oliver Douglas in Eunoia Review – Top of JC's Mind

  3. Pingback: Links to Merrill’s poems – Top of JC's Mind

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