Five feet tall, forty years old,
a steel witness to a life
I open the four drawers
and pull out the files.
Some slim and clean, others
heavy, showing their age.
They store happy memories
of travel around the world,
celebrations of birthdays,
the joy of remodeling the house,
receipts for various acquisitions,
utility bills and bank statements,
family history, and photo albums.
My hands are trembling, my heart
beats hard, my eyes wet.
The shredder stands at my feet,
waiting to swallow this precious load.
I hear its motor running,
but my hands don’t move.
They listen to my heart,
not to the sound of the machine.
At last I gather my strength
and begin to push the papers, one
by one, watching those wonderful
years shredding away.
Only the photos are spared.
I open an album and see a
snapshot of our visit to Pisa.
Like the famous Tower,
my life is tilted now, waiting to tumble.
I am reminded that once
upon a time, I had another life.