I have a hard time throwing away greeting cards
especially those with personal notes, drawn hearts
and smiley faces.
The Christmas cards remind me who to send them
to next year, even though I stopped sending
them years ago.
Valentine’s Day cards always have the most x’s and o’s,
reminding me who loves me or of those who
say they do.
The homemade ones written with colored pencils
for Father’s Day are my favorites with love
in crooked letters.
The simple thinking of you inside a blank card with collage
or painting on the front is something
I mean to frame.
Still I can’t keep them all. Some wind up in the trash
like the ones from the chiropractor
I never went to
and from the insurance guy and realtor who keep
trying to sell me a policy or a house I don’t need
or can’t afford.
Some are in boxes, tucked away in drawers or in books
as bookmarks or just scattered amid the rubble
of life, from where
I periodically excavate to rediscover someone’s
handwriting, faded ink, the scent of crayon,
across the yellowed grain of paper, sometimes slick
or porous cardstock, vestiges of heartache, joy
Author’s Comment: As a poet and an artist, I have the tendency to hold on to stuff. I never know when I might use something or part of something in a mixed media piece. I might even revisit the object and write about it, so ephemera abound in my home. Inevitably though, I have to go through it all and purge stuff from time to time. So it is with greeting cards. As I began going through a stack of cards not too long ago, I got this idea for a poem. Instead of purging, I decided to write.
Bio: Jonathan K. Rice edited and published Iodine Poetry Journal for seventeen years and served as a co-editor for Kakalak in 2016. He also co-edited Of Burgers & Barrooms, an anthology forthcoming from Main Street Rag. He is the author of three poetry collections, Killing Time (2015), Ukulele and Other Poems (2006) and Shooting Pool with a Cellist (2003), all published by Main Street Rag. He is the recipient of the 2012 Irene Blair Honeycutt Legacy Award for outstanding service in support of local and regional writers, awarded by Central Piedmont Community College. As a visual artist, his work has appeared in many group and solo exhibitions. His art and poetry have appeared in numerous publications. Jonathan is originally from Indiana, grew up in south Florida and currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Nice poem. As a fellow pack rat, I can identify with the need to save just in case.