Northwords Now Issue 34

The FREE literary magazine of the North

The Attic Calls

by Ryan van Winkle

There is hope in every attic
that one blonde day we will rise
to all we have clipped and taped,

to all we have boxed and hid.
We will kneel before the something borrowed,
the obvious blue. The things I had to put away

but could not throw.
So, Tom Petty
the Wildflower,
so a yellow trunk
of Rolling Stone,
and beer bottles
green, brown, black
that raised to our lips
that Pete, Helen,
Max and Mary raised.
So, the red phone
held like a shell
against my ear
so I can still hear

her voice a changing whisper. The first woman
I loathed because I loved. And there is hope
right up till the moment of our deaths

that we will take love and all that
made us. We will march straight
up the bone cold rafters, read to our son

the VCR manual. Will take our history
like men, bring it out into the garden,
bleach the boxes with light.

And you don't need to tell me
I am old enough to know. I see
mother struggle the stairs

it is inevitable.
I will be called
to the attic –
mayonnaise skin,
sponges of apple
sauce, flowers
and cheap frames
of who she was,
who she held.
I will rise
to where she stored what might have been
before she became a noun. I will rise
to the attic and kiss her first name.

And when it is cleared
I will rise again
and sit in the true dust

of it all. And I hope
by then I will comprehend
why we saved all we could.