Marie Kondo Cleans My Purse at Starbucks, poetry by Barbara Harris Leonhard at

Marie Kondo Cleans My Purse at Starbucks

Marie Kondo Cleans My Purse at Starbucks

written by: Barbara Harris Leonhard



Konmari sees me at Starbucks,
my purse spilling over at the counter.
“May I help?”

She gathers me up
like I’m antique lace
washed too many times.

Before she begins, she whispers,
“Hello, the House,
I am safe. May I enter?”

She pokes through my purse,
pulling out the deck of cards
Mom once carried in her own purse.

A heavy bag of Mom’s pennies
to redeem for cash.
Her checkbook.

The messy old calendar
that listed her appointments
alongside my own.

The quilt she made me,
now falling apart. A cookbook
compiled in her own hand.

Konmari extracts other artifacts,
laying them gently on lined up tables.
People gather. My eyes bleed.

The extra-large pair of panties
Mom made me wear to Sunday school.
The wash, still not done.

A half-used bottle of Diethylstilbestrol,
she was prescribed to prevent spotting
when I was in utero.

The tricycle she rode
around town at age three
because her mother never watched her.

My cancer scares, scattered
on the bottom of the purse
like cookie crumbs.

The scabs inflicted
by her compression stockings
I failed to wash one last time.

The clump of tissue
I miscarried, swaddled
in an inner pocket.

Her hysterectomy scar.
My hysterectomy scar.
Entwined on a spool.

My t-shaped uterus,
clenching a half-used packet
of Puffs Plus.

A dogeared photo of Mom.
A mirror reflecting
who I want to be.

Konmari has me
hold each item
one last time, saying,

“Thank you, tiny soul,
for sharing your life. I am

She teaches me
how to fold joy
three times.

How to throw out
what I can
no longer carry.

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