by Cristine A. Gruber

Life is one of simplicity,
one cabinet in the hallway,
a single carryall in the bathroom,
and one place setting on the shelf,
to be used and washed and used again
for each and every meal.

The tank is filled but once a month,
a blessing with the rising cost of gas.
And weekly trips to the grocery
always tally to just under $20.

The storage unit across town
houses most of her belongings,
her simple room adorned
with but one family picture,
but more than two hundred books.

Her computer, her sewing machine,
her bible, her shoes. The staples of life
remain with her, always, but everything else
has become silently unimportant, of no real necessity
for the one whose needs have become so minimal.

While searching through a box one winter weekend,
looking for her copy of To Kill a Mockingbird,
she stumbles upon a forgotten keepsake,
a tarnished necklace, golden at one time,
precious and hallowed, a true treasure,
the words #1 Mom written in script.

A lovely sentiment, once close to her chest,
but now quietly slipped into her pocket
as she quickly returns home, the necklace
to be listed on eBay, selling within the hour.
Elements and memories of a broken life, downsized
even further into life’s basic needs of food and rent.

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