“Relics,” Rafael Gamboa
Our living room is full of priceless artifacts.
A pair of white boots;
a handful of weathered books;
a pile of pitiful poetry and prose,
printed years ago by other hands.
The boots are polished bones,
fossils from a skeleton of love
few would recognize from the feet.
The books are enciphered annals:
beginnings and awkward moments,
slithered hands on dripping skin,
promises left shattered on a far away staircase
that has seen far too much of youth.
The pile of printed papers are wrinkled
with the laughter of derision,
held together by an army of staples
clinging desperately to tattered corners.
Stains: fingerprints and spilled drinks
like tree rings.
Further, in our bedroom, rarer items still.
A striped dress, black and white, mesh for a back,
still holding the shapes of bodies
I can yet feel against my lips.
These things sit there like Dead Sea Scrolls
in a stack of yellowed grocery lists.
They should be labeled, their provenance made known
on plaques with names and dates