Today, I neglected the voices wafting up and down the stairs,
the doors slamming behind some old, brown Converse,
the unsigned permission slip, the readied lunch bag,
the see-you-tonights and have-a-good-days.
Today, Lennie died, and most everyone agreed it was for the best.
George did it to be kind, some said, others said it was selfish.
Only one said it just wasn’t okay to take another’s life, no matter what.
Today, I shared sweet tarts and Starbursts, and coffee,
the messengers of gratitude and taking deep breaths.
Today, I thought about tomorrow before the sun had even pinked the sky.
Walking into someone’s home for the first time, I don’t notice the usual eye catchers: the dreamy paintings, feathered sofas, infinite flat screens. My gaze darts to the obscure. Today, I see a dusted snow globe sitting behind a framed family photo, an orphaned Lego winking behind a curtain, piled newspapers waiting to be read. I think artifacts, and I want their stories. The snow globe. Who first shook the liquid memory, watching the flakes float down on summer’s vacation? The Lego. Was it lost, or did someone deliberately leave the hairless soldier in frozen incompleteness? The newspapers. Will they ever receive the well-deserved attention, or will they be inspired kindling for a reluctant fire? These questions distract me, inciting narratives and histories to curl around my thoughts. Today, on a routine stretch of highway, I notice a small encampment beneath a highway overpass. Two tents, a well-swept dusty circle, sinking-seated folding lawn chairs. I think artifacts. I want their stories, and because I can’t really know them, I create my own, gratefully giving significance to these overlooked, discarded relics.