Celebrating National Poetry Month #11: Digging for Keys

Digging for Keys

Faded cottage cheese tubs stuffed with rusty nails,
hooks on the wall overflowing with coats;
a ripped poncho, a manure covered barn coat, a too-small ski parka.
Hanging close are the hats;
hunting orange, hand-me-down tan, John Deere green,
The stained lavender lamp shade lingers in the corner.

Resting on the steps, plastic plant pots, trays, and saucers to catch the drips;
a leaky watering can, one silver slipper, a dead lily discarded after Easter.
nozzles, washers, sprinklers for hoses;
five Mason jars, three canning rings, a crockpot without a lid.

The drawer holds keys to doors that never open, cords to gadgets long thrown away;
Fasteners with a purpose fading from memory and doodads once with a use,
two knights from a chess set, wooden Scrabble tile, one toothpick,
pastel birthday candles, an outdated candy thermometer
resting before the next celebration.

Things of life are saved, arranged, hung, and displayed.
They join soft levis molded to our shape;
colored Avon bottles Aunt Pearl wrote into her will;
birdfeeder presented as a wedding gift;
leaning mailbox with the chipped red flag.

Things remind us of everyday life;
nails to repair the fence, crockpot Sunday soup,
batch of applesauce put up last fall, a marathon Scrabble game.
Digging for a key that frosty, winter night
Doors and windows were locked up tight.

by inland empire girl, June 2007


  1. Awww, how I can relate. There's always a junk drawer in every proper home. And there's nothing more interesting in the house!

    Great poem!


  2. makes me feel better to know that others have the same things on their porch or in their garden/tool sheds.

  3. ps. when I was growing up, we had a junk drawer with a name. It was called "The Drawer." Now that may not seem like anything unsuual, but when mom said "Go look in The Drawer," no one questioned about which one she spoke


I always enjoy reading comments!