UKArchive ID: 35926

What Remains
by nemo
Originally published on December 4, 2015 in Poetry        

One from two years ago. Slightly revised.

Is this all that’s left?
asks my son, just dropping in.

The inlaid wooden chest
my father made with love
when they were first married
served in four houzses
before I drove it down South
like a coffin to rest here.

For years his tools stalled
like new in their boxes,
until one day I found him
planing a piece of wood.
I gathered up the curly shavings,
held them to my nose
in the shed the new people have taken away –
but not the smell he said was cherry
or the scar on my palm,
the red-speckled shavings,
when he let me use the chisel.

I open the chest
in which she stored the linen and towels
she ironed with love,
the lid creaks,
I catch a the faint trace of naphthalene,
enough for a flickering memory rush.

Is this all that’s left?

Yes, everything else went into care,
except for her two girls on a beach
from their last front room,
gathering dust in the garage,
and his watch, which is broken.
Oh, and there’s their carriage clock
he fiddled with,
and got on her nerves,
also beyond repair.

© nemo (Nemo on OLD UKA)

UKArchive ID: 35926
Archived comments for What Remains

franciman on 04-12-2015
What Remains
This works both as poetry and short story. Redolent of love and happy times, it says such a lot in such a small piece. The perfect distillation for me.



Author’s Reply:
I'm pleased you liked it, Jim. Many thanks for the rate, the nib, the nom and the fav! Made my day!



Pronto on 05-12-2015
What Remains
Very engrossing story/poem told so much with so few words.

Author’s Reply:
pleased you liked it, Pronto. Thanks for commenting.


Mikeverdi on 12-12-2015
What Remains
Sorry to be late. As alwaysoon, you open my memory box. This time great sadness came out, I remembered going through my father's belongings with a friend, there was nothing to suggest the man or his life. This is a tribute to your skill as a writer Gerald, you really are very good.


Author’s Reply:
I'm late acknowledging your comment, sorry. Thanks, Mike.

I'm much worse than you. I rarely have time to read other people's work, never mind comment.