by Ron Padgett
When my mother died
she left very little: old clothes,
modest furniture, dishes, some
change, and that was about it.
Except for the stapler. I found it
in a drawer stuffed with old bills
and bank statements. Right off
I noticed how easily it penetrated
stacks of paper, leaving no bruise
on the heel of my hand.
It worked so well I brought it home,
along with a box of staples, from
which only a few of the original 5000
were missing. The trick is remembering
how to load it—it takes me several minutes
to figure it out each time, but I persist until
Oh yes, that’s it! Somewhere in all this
my mother is spread out and floating
like a mist so fine it can’t be seen,
an idea of wafting, the opposite of stapler.
Appears in The New York Review of Books, December 18, 2008 (Volume 55, Number 20).