{possession perspective}


by Faith Shearin

My husband and I stood together in the new mall
which was clean and white and full of possibility.
We were poor so we liked to walk through the stores
since this was like walking through our dreams.
In one we admired coffee makers, blue pottery
bowls, toaster ovens as big as televisions. In another,

…click for the poem in its entirety…

were in love but we liked wanting. Nothing
was ever as nice when we brought it home.
The objects in stores looked best in stores.
The stores were possible futures and, young
and poor, we went shopping. It was nice
then: we didn’t know we already had everything.

“Shopping” by Faith Shearin, from The Owl Question. © Utah State University Press, 2002.

Skyway Drive 021

This is a particularly poignant poem, as we wait for our things to ship. In the three months it took for our possessions to arrive IN Scotland, we forgot so many of them, and did without them, that when they arrived, it felt, for a time, like a surfeit, like a forgotten holiday, where we sat, bewildered, in the midst of the spoils.

As I walk through the house, I am somewhat bemused by the number of things which, just a little while ago, weren’t mine. We have two couches and a loveseat now – one from Bean’s next door neighbor, one from Bean, and one from my friend K.zi, who is moving to Portland next month and found she and N. had too much furniture to properly stage their house for sale. The couch cover was my sister’s, the tables came from my mother’s attic, a stop on the way from someone other kitchen nook; the dishes which rest on the papered shelves – the white ceramic set, the brown and blue pottery set, the two crystal sets, not to mention the platters and the tea things — all of them are things which only weeks ago were on their way out of other doors, bound for consignment and thrift store shelves.

The fridge. The chairs. The nests of baskets in the pantry, awaiting warm rolls, fresh fruit, and towels. Everything came from someone else, someone who was reaching out and welcoming us home.

Which is why it makes me feel so bad that I got a letter from a friend in Scotland this morning, and sat down and cried.

6 Replies to “{possession perspective}”

  1. Oh, dude. I’m sorry. That’s not eloquent, but that’s what is coming out of my mouth. And I’m soooo late getting here, but still ….

    Big, tight hug. And not the kind with the hug-negating back pat. Just a tight one.

    That poem blew me away, too.

  2. Thanks guys – I didn’t intend for this to be quite as stark as it turned out. It’s just a lot of conflicting emo going on. Feeling welcomed, and yet wanting to be elsewhere is just confusing. There will apparently be a lot more sniffles before it’s over…

  3. It’s absolutely okay to feel welcomed and to mourn friends from other postal codes. You’re still in liminality.

    And think of this huge & lovely space you have to host the letter writers when they come to visit you.

  4. Oh, honey, these big moves take a long time to sort out. It takes forever to put down roots and then it takes forever to rip those roots up and put them down somewhere else. Be gentle with yourself. Let yourself feel everything you need to feel and listen to your conflicting emotions with great compassion–the way you would to a good friend going through this. Try to be glad that you have one of those hearts that feels things deeply because, yes, it makes the hard times harder, but it also makes the joyful times more joyous. I’m thinking of you.

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