Around two or three silverfishes dart
among the pulverized lizard eggshells
at the bottom of the box. Gliding into corners,
hiding from view. I pull my hand away,
eventually learning the shock
might be much more real to them
than it is for me: a lesson in consolation.
Here I keep what I hold on to until
memory thins into anomalous relics:
tattered journals, lined notebook
with two-chapter story in puerile longhand cursive
of a ?monstrous but delicate swan? (a fourth grader?s
imagination powered by high-fructose grape juice),
limbless G.I. Joes, foxing sci-fi paperbacks, tin globe
clanking with coins of countries where my mother
would love to visit if she were younger,
phone bills and deposit slips from early 2010?s,
diagram of cardiovascular system with its heart
fading from being kept too long in the dark?
I have kept and accommodated too much,
too, like this heart. In the dark. I believe
this is the noble service of recollection,
as how postmen still faithfully slip letters
into mailboxes, one after the next?
and here I end up with what would mostly find
their way to the dispose pile. In another corner
of this choked space a column of vinyl,
a bag of reunion shirts, a row of encyclopedia,
a pair of old wedges, a bundle of Christmas balls
and a matryoshkan discovery: In a chocolate box
within a shoe box, a sheaf of poems for the future
self, abundant with rhymes that sing like fork tine
on crystal. Today I learn the divisions of my desires,
as a sharp shaft of light scatters in from the east
window, frenzied motes eager for the day?s baptism:
I imagine there is a corridor that leads to everything
I cherished as a child, another as an adult,
and one squat room enough to fit those
that come to fruition, and another where I could reach
anything anytime at arm?s length. Lastly, a hall
where contradictions meet their compromises (obviously
just as important as the toilet and the kitchen sink).
Years later, in a country continents away from home,
I am warned that what we may lose
might never be found again. I was told that
on the same day I was reminded to be kinder.
So from the attic, I bring down several boxes
of knickknacks to be banished from the house.
Straining under the weight, my arms shake,
careful not to drop anything out of my embrace.

By F Jordan Carnice

F. Jordan Carnice is a creative writing graduate at Silliman University and is also an information technology graduate at STI College. His works have seen print in Katitikan: Literary Journal of the Philippine South, Philippines Free Press, Philippines Graphic, Sunday Times Magazine, Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, among other publications. He is a recipient of fellowships from several writing workshops in the Philippines and has served as a panelist twice in the Taboan Writers Festival. He has won the poetry grand prize in the 2020 Cebu Climate Emergency Literature and Arts Competition for his poem “There is Too Much Light in this World.” He has released two poetry collections—Weights & Cushions (2018) and How to Make an Accident (2019). He is also a visual artist whose works can be seen on the Instagram account @art.bullfrog

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