Richard Allen Taylor

I Inherited Hundreds of Candles

Every waxy color you can name. Sizes from silver dollar
to stovepipe. Aromas from pine to bayberry.

Photo albums, filled with strangers and children
unrelated to me.

Several framed pictures of Julie leaning into Nicholas
Sparks, her favorite author, who came almost every year
before her leukemia, to sign his newest novel
at the neighborhood bookstore.

Closets full of clothes waiting for a second chance.
More shoes than a sonnet has feet.
Enough ornaments for a dozen Christmas trees.

You will understand why I have been slowly giving away
and tossing out what no one will take—a fortune in clutter—
and feel a twinge, like a rubber band snapping the wrist,
with each separation,

                                 but no sting as sharp as unpacking
her handbag the day after, the cold extraction of coins, keys,
crumpled bills and plastic cards that passed through her fingers
before touching mine.