Revised from 2010.
In this house
there is order
a cut above the order
in all other houses.
There is order in the hamper.
There is order in the drain trap,
order at the bottom
of the garbage disposal.
The compost heap
decays in step with a timer.
Even in the bowls of chaotic potpourri,
This is no place
you’d expect to find a junk drawer,
yet there it is right where
it always is in every other house:
in the kitchen, top drawer
below the most-used cabinets,
close to the most-used door;
there sits Martha Stewart’s junk drawer.
There are of course, the
old screwdrivers, twist ties,
an expired coupon for microwave popcorn
that in fact come with every junk drawer
straight from the manufacturer —
but they do not rest alone
in Martha Stewart’s junk drawer,
because it’s deep. Really, really deep.
In Martha Stewart’s junk drawer
there’s a red 1982 Ford Fiesta
with one black fender
and a donut on the driver’s front wheel.
Fifteen baby shoes.
A bootleg copy of “The Rocketeer.”
A tea-stained ticket stub
for a show in Branson, Missouri.
A purple thong, size M.
A blue hat made from a plastic bag.
A fibrous growth from a boar’s kidney.
A jammed .45 with a broken grip.
Hollow points loose in the bottom,
and a rust-caked cleaver.
A map to the stars’ homes.
A small address book bound in bonded leather,
blank except for the letter “K”
written on the page for “J” in orange crayon.
A broken rib she calls “Daddy.”
One old rose,
and in the darkest corner,
the approximate size of a human fist,
squeaking “I’m a good thing!
You touch it and
the wardrobe in the guest bedroom
begins to shake, the wildflowers
in the far meadow to tremble.
Martha’s far away, but somehow,
her stomach knows the danger
and she sits for a moment in fear,
twisting a paintbrush in her fresh aching hands.
When you shut the drawer,
everything falls back to sleep:
the house in perfect order,
the forks aligned in their trays,
the tissues in Martha’s body
nestling back into place, just so;
while in Martha Stewart’s junk drawer
the lovely chaos resumes its churning
and the house begins to dream
of its brief sojourn as a home.
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