prologue:

box of rainsoaked papers

letters, research, sketches

all is gone, ink has run

ruined beyond redemption

was it even real?

if I can't hold it, did it exist?

is there meaning in their stories?

is it real and how do I know?


act I:

thank you postcard:

a friend liked the song I sent

all about the moon

monthly party for the full moon

(most likely just an excuse

to have fun with the neighbors)

in the moonlight I hear

clinking of glasses

heads thrown back, laughing

just like in the movies

my heart is sailing over Maine

this is real


act II:

public speaking evaluations:

just call him H

said the instructor

didn't matter how you said his name

echoed the Kansas accent

the first thing and the last thing

H wanted us to know: we were all special

even included a poem about it

I don't remember every word

but somewhere it exists

one hundred-fifty was the highest

score you could get

and I got them all

with big red smily faces

lighting up the zeroes

said I had the perfect voice

I was the ideal speaker

hadn't heard of Gatsby

I am singing for you now

my voice is strong and real


act III:

sketch of myself:

when I was learning to draw

not narcissism, just the only

available model, full length mirror

journeyed through the arches of the face

just me with my pendant

called the aurora borealis

those eyes haunt me now

they see no more light

but the expression within them proves

I am real


act IV:

journal of a broken heart:

written in faded gel pen

on pages sheathed beneath

prismed cover,

the words of losing my first love

sometimes my heart still aches

with real regret and tears

first entry was joyful -- a party

next day he left, extinguishing

all the candles I lit

when my heart contained him

a journey through the first year

without him

stolen moments of joy

when I was disloyal and forgot

for a second...

this is real


act V:

silver toned watch:

at the bottom of a handmade paper box

lies an inexpensive but priceless

thin-banded watch slender enough

for my mother's hand

every time I saw it

I remember her tenderness to me

when I was little girl

she is still alive and well

but none of us are who we were then

I look down at my own hands...

smooth with youth,

not so different

from the wrist that wore the watch

my hands are real


epilogue:

oh, God, You say

You are preparing a place for me

Your house has many rooms

and one of them is reserved in my name

surely,

if here on earth

I furnish my rooms with dust-dim trinkets

(never a painting out of place)

You furnish Yours in everlasting glory

and You know me as the One who has made me--

while I'm in this life

I will be their resurrection,

these things and their memories

live in me . . .

but in the age that will right every wrong

can I expect to see my precious treasures

waiting on the threshold of my eternal dwelling?