By Claudia Monpere

Featured art: [Villa d’un Chiffonier (Ragpicker’s Shack)], 1920 by Eugène Atget

I saw you, daughter, sneaking
a garbage bag of my treasures
into your car. Those heaps of eyeglasses are art.

Never mind the cracked lenses
and broken hinges, the bent frames.
Some day I’ll make a sculpture or hanging lamp.
I’ll make a mobile.

The broken picture frames and dried-out
pens. Even the bottle caps beg
to be known. And how patient
those stacks of hotel soap.
Waiting. Just in case.

Yes newspapers haystack the walls.
But it’s all there: knowledge at my
fingertips. The postman will bring more.

There is an ocean liner inside my heart
that waits to set sail. The crowds wave
at the dock. My shades are drawn.
Bring me, daughter.
Don’t take. Bring me a basket 
brimming with words.

Not fester, not filth—
fang words that surgeon my heart.
Bring me gossamer, lagoon, violet-crowned
Bring me, daughter, elixir of cloud.

Claudia Monpere’s poetry and fiction appear in many literary journals, including The Cincinnati Review, The Kenyon Review, Plume, The Massachusetts Review, Ruminate, and Bellevue Literary Review. She is the recipient of a Hedgebrook Residency and teaches creative writing and first year writing at Santa Clara University.

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