The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

Sometimes, Boxes Are Boxes.

I went into my office to clear off a space on my desk; I never intended for you to be a part of that space. The box sat there for so long that it was no longer the gold Nordstrom’s box it used to be, but rather a dust-coated, scuffed, and scratched version of its former self. It had fought for so long to stay pristine, calm, clean, and unopened, but with a single motion, I swept it into the trash bag, tied the knot, and placed it in the can on the corner. It was time, and I was fine with the notes and photographs and memories, that would remain simply memories of notes and photographs. Fifteen years had been relegated to one box that now sat, unopened, at the top of a trash bin, and I was okay with that. No regrets. No conflicts, except for the garbage man won’t arrive until Thursday, and each day I have to wonder if I can fit anymore inside the broken bin – it’s lid barely clinging to the top.

I don’t know how many of you are like me. I don’t know how many people hold onto things for way too long, cling to them like if you let them go, you’ll lose out on something special later down the line, but sometimes we get to that point where those items no longer hold any true ties to our lives, and we can actually move on from the past. That box of letters and memories and photographs had, for the better part of fifteen years, been opened and closed and organized and added to and stewed over, and it was finally time to realize that I had become such a different person, that I didn’t need the reminders of my former self.

I remember my dad showing me letters and photos from past girlfriends. He keeps them in a drawer, buried beneath socks and checkbooks, and necessities. They are held together by a rubber band, and in my 31-years of life, I’ve only seen him pull them out once to show me about his past. To me, those letters and photos from 50 years ago are historical. They are interesting, and representative of an era where letters and photographs meant more than they do today.  And while all of our pasts, in some way, determine our future, and represent an era, I no longer needed to hold the gold box that contained words I once meant, but can’t remember why.

Sometimes boxes are just  boxes, and space needs to be made.

About Christopher Margolin

Chris Margolin spent more than a decade in Education as a high school English teacher, and is now an Instructional Coach for the Longview School District. He is also the founder of The Poetry Question, an online journal which focuses on reviews of small press poetry publications, and runs a regular series called "The Power of Poetry," where notable poets share their personal stories of how poetry has affected their lives. Margolin resides in Vancouver, Washington with his wife, and daughter.

7 comments on “Sometimes, Boxes Are Boxes.

  1. T.a. Allan
    May 28, 2013

    well, if you get nostalgic for old crap stop by. i’ve still got plenty of yours… and your sister’s, your mother’s, all your grandparents’ and your uncle’s. free for the taking too…

    • Christopher Margolin
      May 28, 2013

      I’ll let J know about that. I wrote this one. I’m sure he won’t mind digging through old crap though. 🙂

    • J. Gabriel Allan
      May 28, 2013

      the name under the title of an article is called the byline

  2. kiwiskan
    May 28, 2013

    This rings bells with me – I am the holder of all of my mother and father’s notes, photos, mementos – and many of them no longer have meaning for me. Some will have to go before my children are saddled with the same difficult choices…

  3. Veronica Russell
    May 28, 2013

    Letting go. So difficult for human beings sometimes-and so liberating.
    Well done, Chris.

  4. T.a. Allan
    May 28, 2013

    oops. but relieving, ’cause, jal, i was sure that by the time you were born i no longer had pictures of old girlfriends… old girlfriends (though young at the time), but not pictures. we didn’t rake a lot of pictures back then. 60s hippies pretty much didn’t have cameras… and couldn’t afford film, no less processing and printing.

  5. T.a. Allan
    May 28, 2013

    we didn’t Take a lot of pictures either… though we may have Raked a cord or two in preparation for winter..

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