Life Stored in Boxes

Digging through boxes, packed by hands who decided
memories were meant for storage, rather than picture frames.
Artwork I created at five years old.
Dried paint and construction paper still clutches the smells of my preschool classroom.
Days of my youth, waiting for twenty years to bound into my nose
and grip the throat of my senses.
I trace my fingertips over glitter and surrender my worries to the melting sun.
I’m dominated by warm colors, and a craving to smear my palms in paint.

I discovered a letter from my grandmother addressed to me.
Her writing shaking, yet the ink steadied me.
I smelled the letter she wrote
and pretended it smelled like her,
but really all I could come up with was stale flatlines.

I’m mad that childhood art projects can last
but my grandma’s perfume can evaporate.

And I’m happy that I can crawl into Winnie the Pooh decorated innocence,
but sad that her sweater is missing.

About The Author

Kelli Lage is earning her degree in Secondary English Education and works as a substitute teacher. She is a poetry reader for Bracken Magazine. Lage's work has appeared in The Lumiere Review, Welter Journal, Watershed Review, and elsewhere. Website: