The Attic

Antique toysDust swirls and drifts, tiny bits of time alighted by the winds of now.

A lifetime of undisturbed solitude has passed for these moments of childhood, preserved in inky papers, headlines blaring silently.

Memories flood the senses, washing away time. Was it really he who built this lego ship? Was it these hand that labored for hours on models, he himself who dreamed of the future in the upstairs bedroom? How can it be these same hands that gripped the steering wheel of his first car, that held hers – she in that white dress – the same hands that scooped their first daughter and cradled their son?

A slight shake of his head, a gentle grip on the toys; time’s march forward is halted. In this moment, the man he is and the boy he was converge, with a swell of his heart.


In another house, another mother and child sit. The toys and shape of the memories are different, but the same flood washes away time; the ocean of memory lapps at the shore of today.

Her treasures are wrapped in tissue paper, crinckled with age and yearning. Was it really she who held this doll close? Was it these hands that nurtured and cared for Barbie and babies, she herself who longed to know the future on that pink patterned bedspread? How can it be these same hands that practiced routines on the backyard swing set, that drove the high school carpool, that patted her father’s hands and took her husband’s in that center aisle, that caressed her newborn daughter’s cheek and smoothed her toddler son’s cowlick?

A slight shake of her head, a gentle grip on the dolls; time’s march forward continues. In this moment, the girl she was and the woman she is diverge, with an ache in her heart.


This poem/poetic reflection stems from a recent holiday experience; both my and my husband’s mothers are packing their homes to sell. We each had the opportunity to spend some quality time, reminiscing about our childhood. Thanks to both of our mothers for providing such idyllic childhoods to begin with and then for the opportunity to revisit them via special saved items. 

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