in the dark dusty closet
a shoebox with 90’s photos
outside afternoon rain
sheets the windows
and you shuffle through
the first marriage, the first house,
potlucks, denim jumpers, navy flats,
your plastered smile  

you rocket back
to these moments
when every morning
was a contract you’d signed
and ‘make do’
was the needlepoint halo
on your head 

the photos in old orangy grain
the backgrounds, treasures
you once loved
hot glue decoupage crafts
pictures hanging above iron bed frames,
green cups and saucers on a shelf,
a silver tinseled tree,
a scarf tied around a lamp shade
you once thought so pretty
your young face, blistered
with shoulds and musts

How can you advise the young
to know more than they should
as early as they can
to avoid the kind of life
that requires throwing away
all the photos
from the first half of it?