It seems I don’t have the attention span
to stick to one collection throughout my lifetime.
When I was a child I collected boxes—
little boxes. They made good spy radios.
It got me in trouble when I claimed
my oldest sister’s engagement ring box.
Next, I collected colorful glass bottles
not just any bottle, the daintier the better.
In my teens as I traveled more, pennants—
pennants from all along the east coast
from north to south, except Maine,
and western ones from a Wyoming trip.
Then there’s the walking sticks—
shiny gnarled ones, ones with places
inscribed such as Yellowstone National Park.
Now, I collect sample copies of magazines
my work appears in. I need to get a bigger drawer,
a good problem to have.
When more money came into the picture,
I collected books. Used to be, I couldn’t
imagine owning a book and not reading it,
but now I own hundreds I haven’t read yet.
Many of the books I have now are authored
by my friends and partially by me.
My favorite collection is my Christmas tree ornaments.
At least one a year: the crab claw poinsettia from
Louisiana, the painted gourd from Sedona,
the bagpipe player from Scotland,
a mouse in a matchbox—baby’s first Christmas
among all the crudely made ones
by my kids when they were little.
What is the reasoning behind collections?
What makes a bunch of them better than one?
How many walking sticks does a person need?
Maybe I’m collection memories, hanging onto
a part of this life before it disappears, and
leaving something behind for my kids
to sort through reminding them of me.