What made the cut
I like this picture. It is from the apartment where I lived for nine years in NYC. It’s got some of my favorite things: Joseph, Max and a pineapple. The table my men are resting on, was found streetside in Soho. Bill said it “had my name on it.” Its crackled surface is covered with wild painted designs and a misshapen bit of mirror in pieces. It made the cut for the move to Colorado, and when the movers came, they deemed that bit of mirror to be “breakable.” (Even though it was already broken by design). The boss man said that it would have to be packed in a protective carton and he should charge me extra, though he said he “would have no skin on his face” to charge me for such a small bit. His Hungarian generosity leaked out through a wry smile. The table is still cartoned up in storage.
The Oaxacan etchings on amate paper hanging the wall made the cut, too. One is of a scene from Day of the Dead. Skeletal tuba players march on a dark earth and armies of spirits, like moondrift, float down on a ribbon of light. The other is a scene of a family dinner under a sprawling ceiba: tortillas on the comal and children snitching from the cauldron of stewed pig. They are in a tall box with an UP arrow, framed things in storage.
Those “things” that made me feel so comfortable for nine years in a tiny Bronx apartment are not around me now. I do have Joseph, Max and a pineapple — and a future of unpacking to weave my old comforts with my new, confident that the old are carefully protected and stored, while new comforts wear themselves gently in. A kiss before sleep. A Saturday espresso. A light through the leaves.