We are death cleaning, like the Swedish do, for the old lady
still alive and withering in her chair, that way there will be less to do

once she isn’t. Bank statements from decades back, birthday cards
never sent now stuck to their own envelope glue, clothes, photos, magazines,

flotsam and jetsam of a life 13 years gone. We siblings sit in the shady lawn,
sort through the boxes of goblets and perfume bottles, the fragile legacy

of a glassblower. I take the metallic turtle, the galaxy paperweight,
the unusable shot glass shaped like a gun. Brother takes the pig bong. Sister takes

the murrini vase and scorpion-stemmed goblet. I take his linen Union Jack
and brass bugle from the only time he ever went home to England after leaving.

Brother takes the concert t-shirts (Rush in the 70s, Pink Floyd in the 80s).
I take the Monty Python shirt, black so faded it’s gray. Sister sorts his tie-dye,

pulls at her mask to catch her breath in the heat. COVID and her kidney transplant make everything dangerous. Here on this lawn, where I was a child, I find a check

he began to write, dated August 2007 and signed, just 3 months before he died
in that hospice bed, and I tuck it into a book on tea recipes I bought him,

put it in my pile. He’s dead and I’m alive, and sister is alive with a dead
person’s kidney chugging away in her gut, and brother is alive,

and mother is bent parallel to the ground as she shuffles with her walker
to the bathroom still alive, and we are surrounded by the last of his things

on this grass where at 14, I practiced a tour jeté and barefoot landed on a dead bird,
feeling the bones pop between my toes. I take his old work ID, a copper moon,

a newspaper from September 12. In front of this house where we ate his dill dumplings
and suffered his narcissisms, where we were born and parts of us died,

we each take a copy of the day’s paper with his obit. This place where we were alive
together for awhile with him and are now alive together without him,

brother, sister, and I take our boxes to our cars, take the full bags of trash
to the cans in the driveway, pack the rest down into mother’s basement,

to deal with later, once we begin going through her things, whenever that may be.