It is strange to open the closet door
and find my uncle sitting on its floor.
Grinning, while holding a beer in his hand,
trying to dance even if he can barely stand.
He lounges unchanged in that place.
His goofy laughter of yesteryears
echo within that sacred space.
Stretched across his tummy, he’s wearing
his thin tattered white shirt,
worn through by all the washings
only afforded to people and things
prone to unceasing deaths and rebirths ….
It is also equally disturbing to see
my dad deftly lighting a cigarette
with his tarnished silver Zippo lighter.
It’s Hope, I bet, caught in his lips
slowly turning into ashes, falling to bits.
And he sits there, sipping his coffee,
furiously scribbling lines upon lines
adjusting his green-tinted glasses
against the glare of life’s synopsis.
And briefly he looks up,
through the smoke he sees me then,
smiles, the priceless smile of a free man,
a smile for the world to see
before going back to his story.
But that pause, I know, was meant for me.
It is quite unsettling to see
my mom in the drawer
trying on her diamonds and pearls
prancing about in her Valentino dresses.
Spraying on a bit of Channel No. 5
while brushing her fragrant curly tresses.
I can hear her asking, how my day was.
I can still see her laughing
so vibrant, so lovely, so alive.
She looks at me, smiling
chatting up a storm
as she puts on her mascara,
looking like a glamorous señora.
And I can see her standing there
strong and sure of herself,
balancing in her YSL stilettos
a class act, powerful and charming,
she was always so sure of winning.
And I had to quickly close the doors,
because it got me again,
that old closet, standing in the corner,
keeper of things seen and unseen.
Sanctuary to restless souls that will not depart
from the quiet recesses of the heart.
Not more than once I thought,
you’ve caught me unprepared.
Old closets are dangerous things …
you see they have this sneaky habit
of mercilessly not letting you be ….