april’s fool

when i was 49
i started throwing things away

first it was old love letters
and too-short dresses

broken bracelets and lidless saucepans
piles of books and how-to magazines

finally moving on to bowls and worn towels
then shiny bits of empty ornament

the room grew larger but i kept shrinking
i sucked in a breath to keep me anchored

and i cleaned with the faith of a zealot
scrubbing broken brick
and washing stains out of memory

until everything was bleached
as the bones i had scattered in the sand

afterward i lay on the damp wood floor
staring up at a sky i’d drawn with blue pencil

my back ached and my arms were empty
my stomach growled with the pleasure of hunger

i had cleaned my slate and now i was ready
for dessert or silence or immunity

it wasn’t until dawn i remembered
i’d forgotten to outline the sun





A poem a day for 30 days, in honor of National Poetry Month.
This post is part of NaPoWriMo, see more here.



11 Responses to “april’s fool”

  • d smith kaich jones Says:

    this is FABULOUS!!!! best first lines ever and of course, the rest is just . . . well, i know that room of which you speak.

  • missing moments Says:

    Your words make me smile!

  • brian miller Says:

    smiles…no need to put the sun in a box though…let it just shine….the purge though i def understand as there are plenty things we cling to that we no longer need…luckily i dont have too many short skirts to throw out…smiles.

  • Kathryn Dyche Dechairo Says:

    Fantastic write, a clean slate and dessert . . . . it doesn’t get better than that.

  • sarah Says:

    it’s so exciting to think of getting to read a poem a day from you!

  • claudia Says:

    oh that is a very cool poem…one of my favs i read by you so far… the clean slate…the lying on the floor and drawing a sky with blue pencil… ready to make new memories – ready for a new chapter – i like

  • Sooz Says:

    I started throwing things away in 2007, when Mom died…and I’ve been doing it ever since. How can the stuff that I need to get rid of, keep accumulating? It’s like the loaves and the fishes. First Mom dying, then Dad moving out of his home. Boxes and boxes of things get shipped to me, the family archivist, to sort through. With my Dad, sometimes it was receipts and wadded-up kleenexes, shipped across two states for me to sort through…

  • Glenn Buttkus Says:

    God, I am such a pack rat, bordering on hoarder; keeping old college notes, journals, essays, thousands of things written or outlined; & I have the addiction of being a collector, over 30,000 movies on shelves in my basement. My wife somehow tolerates my love of ephemera & unholy need for completing a collection (it used to be comics & stamps). She is more like you, a purger, a cleaner; lovely contrast to the nostalgia nut.

  • Ayala Says:

    Kelly, this speaks to my soul…. The entire poem a new favorite and these lines are magnificent …. i had cleaned my slate and now i was ready
    for dessert or silence or immunity
    I feel this to my core.

  • Kamana Says:

    this has to be one of my favourite ones by you.

  • grapeling Says:

    I’m 49, I moved last week, and know that backache, and that clean slate. Except it’s never quite … clean… ~

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