My Grandmother the Hoarder

It begins innocently enough.
Newspaper clippings, 25 cent books
from a rummage sale, the chair
you saved from the side of the road
with the scratch you can barely see
which you will repair next weekend.
But next weekend becomes the next
and so on.

At first you are simply a collector,
of memories and things,
you are their keeper.
Eventually you are the one being kept;
a hostage in your own home
your children begin to rage
and disappear.

I used to come to the rescue,
I used to be your shield,
but even I have grown tired.
Even I have secrets
I shouldn’t keep.

And they pile quickly.
A silent tower of
ghosts in the corner.

One of them reminds me
that you won’t be here
much longer, says
I should call, but
then the baby cries
and I forget what
I was talking about
and to whom.


Janaya Martin is a poet and mother of three. Between poems, chasing children and amateur gardening, she works at the University of Minnesota and hosts a monthly reading series, Writers Read, at The Coffee Shop Northeast. Her work has appeared in Oddball Magazine, The Grief Diaries and The Real Us. Her first book of poetry, Tiptoe and Whisper, was released in March 2016. 

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