Shutters. Shutters? Yes,
shutters. The kind that have a purpose:

to protect us
from ourselves.

You can’t resist the red
canvas storage bins

containing blank books
filled with 50 years of chronicling

a life. It’s too easy
to get sucked into that waterspout

heading toward shore.
Raining dead fish,

is that what you think
of your past? Your younger self?

Your heart aches for her,
the way she always gave away her power.

Your mind curses
the way she sabotaged everything.

The way she could never let go
of anything. The way she behaved

under the influence
of rotating infatuations,

raging endorphins, fifths upon fifths
of whatever you got,

the scent of lilacs
on the first warm May evening

anywhere north of the Battery. The way
she allowed herself to be driven

to the many stations of passion:

from suffering to intense emotion
to desire to irrational

but irresistible motive.
The way she refused to purchase

a round trip ticket
and would need to beg her way home.

The way she kept that soft beige
cable-knit sweater he left behind

the last night they spent together.
Kept it for decades.

You may still have it buried beneath
a box of letters. He never wrote

back. She would dig it out
of a secret hiding place

in the front bedroom closet
of that Bronx fourplex

to feed the hungry ghost.
She called it “nostalgic nose candy,”

said she would find a way to use it
in a poem someday. You haven’t lived

in a place with shutters for so long.
Even she can’t tell you when.

You owe her nothing,
save every damn thing not bolted down.

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