The Closet

Photo: Google Free Images

Overpowering perfume (rose)
lingers, crushes, blends with mold.
Hangers, scattered on the floor,
some padded with purple velour,
once held cashmere sweaters.

The door of the safe is ajar,
as it has been for years,
the combination hidden too well.
Heavy chains of gold entangle
with a strand of perfect pearls
and a locket that holds a black
and white tattered photo
of her youngest daughter
and a dent from a tiny tooth.

Shelves of shoeboxes overflow—
twenty years worth of receipts,
silent witnesses to money tossed
at frivolity. In my memory I hear
angry words hurled in defense
of wanton spending.

Bell bottoms cavort with
shoulder pads. Browns and beige,
no color. No prints. Just tepid tan and
one black knit suit.
I finger the smoothness
of silk and satin, the texture
of brocades and polyester.

In the far corner a cane leans
against a walker.
The week after she died I moved in.

Linked to dVerse Poets’ Pub Meeting the Bar where I’m grateful to be hostess today. “Oh, the places we will go…” I hope to see you there.


39 thoughts on “The Closet

  1. Lindy Lee says:

    We better clean out our closets…


  2. Rallentanda says:

    A closet is like a diary. You can read so much about a person by the way they live . I found this thought provoking in the sense of the finality of it all. Omnia mors vincit.


  3. amivglobus says:

    Lovely work. The end was a good kind of shock.



  4. Jamie Dedes says:

    This is lovely and touching in its way. It reminds me of the feeling everyone probably experience when we have to take down the house of someone we know and love. The shock at the end evokes the sense of disorintation when reality its. Lots of color and sensual detail too. Well done. I really, really like this, Victoria.


  5. amy says:

    I want to know more. This is a good place for anything to end. Wanting.


    • Thanks, Amy. This is fictional, so you get to make up your own details as far as the story goes…although with my background as a home care nurse I do draw on things I’ve encountered in patient’s homes.


  6. Victoria,
    An amazing poem that will surely bring back memories for those who read it. Thanks for dropping by and reading me memories of the Mother Road. Kudos on hosting dVerse and on your theme.
    Mark Butkus


  7. Baishali says:

    a sudden shocking end! I am taken aback! a terrific write.


  8. souldipper says:

    Loved being completely fooled. I cringed my way through the poem…great sensory stimulation.


  9. kolembo says:

    …bell bottoms cavort with shoulder pads…
    – and the pay off last stanza –
    fantastic, shockingly so – lulled into melancholy but the wonderous smells of memory – flung into the now of the poetry.

    So surprising and lovely I read it again!


  10. The last thing to leave is often the scent of them in clothes so wardrobes and death are powerful images


  11. shanyns says:

    This is so good, the ending really got me. Well done.


  12. Louise says:

    We gather so much clutter throughout our lives…and it’s all been a part of us somehow, holds memories….a whole world in a closet. Wonderful & poignant take on the prompt. 🙂


  13. hedgewitch says:

    The struggle for control through owning can only bring a chaos of the impossible, well illustrated here in your brightly focused vignettes of objects that ought to have more meaning but are relegated to clutter, mentally as well as physically, instead. Excellent work in this one Victoria–very subtle and open-ended despite making a clear series of visuals that carry their own message.


  14. Sharonlee says:

    I agree, the ending is a pandora’s box of questions… I like this tho… what a story that closet holds!


  15. David King says:

    Being a hoarder I could relate to this. Just never ever thought of turning my messiness into a metaphor – I wonder if that would make my better half more sympathetic. thanks for a great idea and a greater verse.


  16. hobgoblin2011 says:

    Very nice Victoria. The imagery is so strong here, really bringing the scenes truly to life. and in so doing, it, as a side effect, also allows theme itself an additional level of focus. Thanks


  17. Victoria, you know you have started a vast de-cluttering jag …


  18. vivinfrance says:

    The sensory treatment of this subject is first class. But the first part of the poem read like a confession, so the ending was part relief that it wasn’t you, part sadness, and a big chunk of guilt on my part: I should hate to have to clear out the “stuff” from my wardrobe, ergo it behoves me to do it NOW!


  19. aprille says:

    You peeked into my closets I notice. No angry words here though: unconditional love.Even after all these years.


  20. kaykuala says:

    A hoarder is rich in ‘assets’ but poor in time management. They are really crying out loud for not being in control. The situation can be pathetic and they know it but they just can’t.respond well. I know for I’m one, ‘guilty as charged’ A sage once said ( Mark Twain?) the fastest way to do anything is to do it one at a time. Good reminder Victoria!



  21. punnypalaver says:

    I can see it and smell it and feel it–excellent and the O-Henry ending, wonderful!


  22. jmgoyder says:

    Love the way the ending has such an impact.


  23. Grace says:

    I like the smells and scents from the closet ~ The ending just sums it up nicely ~

    Thanks for the lovely post and prompt ~


  24. leahJlynn says:

    What a way to use our imaginations on this one. I reposted my poem form the other day. I thought it was still fitting for this prompt. Thank you


  25. Incredible sense of place here, for sure. Other people’s clothing and coveted articles is always both fascinating and creepy, like seeing your grandparents nude. Sometimes I wander in second hand stores and the stories and spirits and voices overwhelm me. Thanks for this poetic jaunt.


  26. Myrna says:

    This was very sad. You captured the emotion very vividly. My mother died recently, and just last week, I was going through her things to give to Goodwill. Your poem touched me personally.


  27. Wow! This is an awesome bit of writing! So vivid! I love it!


  28. Chazinator says:

    The place of a hoarder is often so sad, betokening loss and despair. My first wife hoarded, and it tears at the fabric of one’s soul to feel their helplessness. You’ve painted the place and the person with an eye for subtle detail and obvious compassion. These little areas of desolation that reflect the soul can be supremely sad. Excellent write.


  29. janehewey says:

    this felt like a journey back and forth. oh my, the smells here… 20 years ago and today. powerful clarity of writing!


  30. ladynyo says:

    The devil is in the details! LOL! This grabbed me from the first stanza and didn’t let go.

    There were so many sensory details that they propel one into the mystery of this poem, and the ending ….well, it made my pupils dilate.

    Fascinating and compelling piece of work, Victoria…with a killer ending.

    Lady Nyo


  31. charityv says:

    Caught me on the ending!
    You also did an exceptional job of capturing olfactory senses in your first stanza, such a tricky element,


  32. I still have most of Chloe (now 16) milk teeth in a container in my closet somewhere. This is so vivid. The reader is given all of the colours, even fragrance to feel. The cane is so authentic. And moving in a week later too.
    Fabulous read.


  33. Claudia says:

    a closet full of memories and things i could literally feel and smell..speaks to me of a life inside the life and the things we carry and are not able to let go…


  34. brian miller says:

    oh some nice touches there…the can and the walker at the end certainly…and the tooth dent in the pic….love that…you caught me in the end as well…and makes me wonder why she keeps those things around….really nice description victoria


  35. Susan says:

    The end was a surprise at first as if there was no foreshadowing, but looking again I saw it in the narrator’s attention to detail and the changing history through fashion to the final outfit: walker and cane. Touching the fabric, knowing so much of the story, I knew she would either have the task of emptying the closet or moving in.


  36. Laurie Kolp says:

    Your messy closet metaphor is wonderful here, Victoria…. and so vivid (I think I’ve seen a closet or two like that before). Love the ending!


  37. suej says:

    Oh great, I was there amidst the clothes and the muddle…and the scents. Great ending…quite unexpected


  38. The end was unexpected, caught me off guard! Lovely words, as always!


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