‘Self-storage ‘ by Vona Groarke from her new collection Double Negative is our July Poem of the Month


When I send my past to the lock-up
in fifteen numbered, see-through boxes
that two men lug down five flights
and hoist into an unmarked van
I should feel released, sprung

from a twenty-five year sentence
played out backwards, sent down at the end
right before the bad thing happens
but after the time has been served.
And I nearly do. I do.

I commit myself to month after month,
paid in advance, and they hand me
two sets of keys to a padlock
they will secure once the better part
of me is safe inside.

In drizzle (as the past must be)
the man with the limp secures the back
while the bald one has me sign,
says he will text the unit number
so I know where I am.

The bedroom closes over where
the boxes used to be and the mirror
has me in it, or what’s left of me,
sitting down to this clean slate
with my news and news and news.

by Vona Groarke
from Double Negative (2019)

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