Attic: Dad’s highchair, pool supplies, plastic flowers, hula hoops
bent in some parts of the circle
gone-astray-until Mom picked them up tennis balls from the playground in Westwood, Los Angeles
Chloe and Mylo’s three-storey dollhouse and its furniture and its family of five and
some extra doll parts
unopened Dollar Store finds birthed from thoughts of “it’s so cheap, I could use that someday”
brief lives of stuff.
Hey, I remember that old artificial tree. But it’s not here anymore. We live in a country full of trees, but we’d put up the same fake tree every year, its faux pine needles scratching my hands and cheeks like porcupine quills, I imagined, positioning the metal branches into the holes of the metal trunk, decorating it with scratched bulbs and thinning, crinkled silver and gold tinsel in the living room by the window, where the Santa Claus I didn’t believe in, not really, ever, would put my presents.
I came up here to the attic,
carefully pushing open the door so as to not get any splinters,
pushed the swinging latch over the door to keep it open.
Mom told me to get the Christmas tree, but she neglected to tell me about
THE FOUR DEER CARCASSES
lined up in the middle of the attic-cum-morgue.
At eye level, they looked like naked human corpses. I sucked in a deep breath
that could have frozen my heart. Then,
hey, it’s just dead deer. And they only stink a little. Now where is that old tree? Stepping over
to find our Charlie Brown fake tree.
The tree’s not in the attic anymore. It was banished from the attic when Dad determined it was taking up good space that could be used for anything else at all. Dad, who became a Christian late in life, always hated Christmas. So he threw out that goddamn old fake Christmas tree because why the hell would he bother decorating when the kids were all grown and out of the house anyway? (The pool supplies—still there even though the pool had been filled in with dirt for the same exact reason.)
It’s cold so I’m not worried about the wasps. I bump my head on a beam,
my sweater catches on a rough edge as I start to go back down the stairs.
With one hand holding up the door, I look at the attic,
picturing all that used to be in here,
picturing it all gone.