Poetry

Ingredients for preservation

Wear calico dress with Blueboard

shoes, Corflute wings, Mylar 

glasses, dangling Ethafoam earrings.

Create houses for each object. Know 

what is inside without a reference image. 

Bundle up rust from your great-great-uncle’s

chandelier, each bulb, the light itself.

Take care with the light, it has a habit

of sneaking out again. Use double 

layers if necessary. Never know 

which object you might ruin next 

with your care. Like your great-

grandmother’s dinner set and soup 

plates – the kind that makes eating

chicken soup a silky experience.

Lick the porcelain. Taste the gold,

before wrapping in Tyvek –

not too tightly or the handles 

may snap. Best not to unwrap again.

Offer to preserve others’ objects.

Become outcast, like the lonely objects

that don’t get preserved –

tweezers used to pluck

the smallest of chicken feathers

for the Passover meal. The wine cup

that leans to the left from a knock

to the ground. Unclip those Ethafoam 

earrings. Use them as buffers, stabilisers. 

Become stable. Realise you do not need 

to preserve everything. Flap your Corflute 

wings. Unbutton the light. Let it flow

to where it wants to go. Watch it peer

through the crack in the inpatient’s 

dark painting. Listen to how much it means, 

this crack of light. Wonder how you could 

have ever wrapped it away in the first place.

Tear strips from your calico dress, enclose 

this memory-thought gently inside Blueboard

shoes. Preserve so you don’t forget.

Bury in a light-filled place. 

 

Note: Calico, Blueboard, Corflute, Mylar, Ethafoam and Tyvek are used in museums and galleries as materials for preservation.

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