Hour 12: The Move

A life in boxes and crates: 30 years.
Thirty years of research in archives
and no thought of giving it away.
Libraries say they’ll take good care
and grant access any time, within
reason, 9 to 4, five days a week.
What about midnight on Christmas Eve,
when I need to read the diary notes
of Rose Wilder Lane or Elizabeth Bishop,
Edna St. Vincent Millay or Mrs. Lindbergh?
Most people relocate furniture, photos, appliances,
and clothes. Here is scholarly detritus enough to
fill a garage, a walk-in closet, and then some.
Dividing myself between four abodes – an apartment,
two houses, and a condo – none of them mine, I grow
unsettled and wistful to visit my things.
My books, especially, I miss with great longing,
although a well-stocked Kindle helps. But some
will never be scanned, digitalized, online at my
command. These are the books I swear to protect.
And my own diaries and manuscripts – they will not
be carted off to the bowels of an institution. For as
long as I can, I will keep them with me, and safe.

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