I dug through whatever you collected
and wondered why there was so much
I don’t remember.
I found pearls, flea market jewelry
and ornate gold pieces
that you would wear, your arms
tracing patterns in the air
to the steady beat
of faraway bamboo clappers.
I sat, and sorted
on the floor, blocked the way
but didn’t really care
because this had to be done
like you kneeling in the kitchen,
a labyrinth of supermarket bags.
I lifted a ceramic container out of the box
expecting to find more pearls inside,
those that you would wear
when you’d leave for your trips,
it was baby teeth,
yellowing but unyielding
among your jewelry.