Basement Storage
by Al Ortolani

Sherri organizes boxes in basement storage. Late
this afternoon she still scrapes and knocks them
across the concrete floor. She manages to pitch
a plastic bin of wool sweaters, used when
we climbed Mount Massive, another of blue
rain gear from college football, but a tower of books
that neither of us have looked at this century
stops her. Books are impossible to throw away,
so she stacks them one upon the other. I tell her
Francis Bacon wrote something to the effect
that we build upon each generation’s ideas.
Newton said that he stood on the shoulders of giants.
So these old worn pages become landmarks
in basement storage. Certainly, she can unload
some of them—maybe a College Algebra,
a water-stained Riverside Shakespeare, or
The How to Repair Small Engines. I don’t dig deeper.
The ABCs of Beekeeping may be important someday
after I’ve salvaged the old hive from Terry’s farm
and power washed it. Bees can return. Like a forgotten
notion they may swarm around the dogwood limb
that taps the window. They may need rescue
in the suburbs. I don’t particularly care for honey
in tea or on toast; it’s more like I enjoy the idea
of honey, sweet and dripping in the supers, boxed
for whatever bitterness may arise.

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