This poem came from reading Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club. Any memories are suspect, of course, but the more you talk with people about their childhood, the more you realize you don’t remember near as much as you always thought you did. That no one does, in fact.

What kind of memories would be in this box? Image from Wikimedia by Sergeev Pavel

What kind of memories would be in this box?
Image from Wikimedia by Sergeev Pavel

Sold As Is

I don’t know myself—

past wrapped in dark paper

corners scuffed and dented

edges feathered with tiny rips

shoved into a dusty corner

I don’t take it out

heft its weight

slide a fingernail under an edge

testing my resolve—

afraid of seeing my reflection


daring me to open the past

Perhaps the memories are happy there


important in their absence—

brought to light

they might be diminished

revealed as shabby



or maybe awful



I don’t know, myself

About Caitlin Stern

I have a MA in English, and have so many fantasy/urban fantasy WIPs it's not even funny. I'm an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, biography, fiction, and anything else that catches my interest. I collect books, and bookmarks I find that are visually appealing and useful.

5 responses »

  1. Marcia says:

    This is beautiful, Caitlin. Thought-provoking, and very true, as well. I love how the comma in the last line changes the meaning so completely from that of the first line, too. Well done, my friend!!

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