In the corner of rooms,
in the back of drawers
long unopened, in the piles
of pottery my mother doesn't allow
anybody to touch, we find at least
a dozen broken cups, fired and glazed
with faence, left by Jochen the German
a long time ago. In between are
the Maithili plates and cups
left by Claire. Also mixed in
are small egg cups and shot glasses
from Genevieve the French linguist
who my mother adored. She lived
here twenty years ago—we still keep
mementos of her presence. Now,
finally, I've decided. Its time
for the broken cups to go—they will
adorn the wall of brick underneath
my jackaranda and be garden ornaments.


We will not memorialize residents
who've left a long time ago. We'll set
them free, in the form of their material
remains, in the archeology of the eternal garden.