hood river
Wiping Up for Moving Out
by Tricia Knoll

I wipe cabinet shelves with a damp rag, mop up bits of faded rosemary and dry parsley. Hand you the scallop shell nightlight. Find a forgotten Swiss Army knife with a corkscrew in a mildewed leather holster — that would be his, the man before you. A flat refrigerator magnet says Wisconsin, a tenant’s. Stuff the seashore bird books in a cardboard stereo box. Sniff the olive oil, how old is gone? Save the rusted pruning shears. Wonder if the new owners will regulate the pink climbing rose or let its thorns grab their sweaters. I hope they like blue. The robin-egg blue garage, new Yale blue carpeting. A rivulet of groundwater from the sump pump flows down the gutter toward the corner of Carmel and Beeswax.

You cushion in bubble wrap the print of the mother whale lifting up her baby. I swaddle the Japanese woodblock of a stand-up wave curling under a peach sunset inside a gray towel. We toss the surge protector into a Hood River apple box beside the stack of plastic blue and white Chinese restaurant plates and bowls my daughter wants. Pack the car. Separate out five keys for the realtors. Call our dog who detests car rides.

I think the tide is ebbing. My back is to the window; I do not turn to check. We’re heading up, around the mountain.

     the monarch kite
     dips in sultry winds
     reeling in

SOURCE: Previously published in the author’s collection Ocean’s Laughter, with first publication in Contemporary Haibun Online.


Tricia Knoll
owned a vacation rental in Manzanita, Oregon, on the northern Oregon coast for 25 years, selling the house in 2014. Ocean’s Laughter (Aldrich Press, 2016) collects lyric and eco-poetry about those years. Visit the author at triciaknoll.com.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Collecting firewood in Manzanita, Oregon.