To Mom, in the Beyond

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Two candles and three photos had to stand
atop the bureau that I used each summer.
No space for me to stack some books? Quelle bummer.
Each mantelpiece and shelf was also planned,
each ledge, nook, countertop, bare inch of floor,
or wedge of open air beneath a gable.
Even the sill behind the ping-pong table—
those poor doomed tchotchkes!—was accounted for.
Oh, how your decorating drove us nuts
(as tasteful as it was), your certainty
that everybody knew it would behoove them
to raise no disrespectful ifs or buts,
and leave each bud vase, bowl, or bottle be.
They’re all still there, of course: we’d hate to move them.