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Kate Durbin
Kate Durbin

Hoarders: Tara

Recorded for Poem-a-Day, August 31, 2016.
About this Poem 

“This poem from my latest body of work is about the A&E reality TV show Hoarders. Like the TV show, the poems in Hoarders are organized to focus on specific individuals and their things.”
—Kate Durbin

Hoarders: Tara

Orlando, Florida

My name is Tara and I’m 55 years old Precious Moments angel statue
I would not classify myself as a hoarder, more of a rescuer of Target receipts
When I first moved in it was just mostly boxes because I was moving in then I tried to unpack but everything just got put wherever Martha Stewart magazines
I just started asking God that I would like to know what it would be like to have an organized sea of stuffed frogs
A bed looks like a bed with picnic baskets
And your table doesn’t have stuff on it it’s a painting of a cornucopia
And the couch you can sit on it people can sit on it like American girl dolls
Well I’ve finally come to the realization I have too much Praise Hymn compact discs
I told God that I just have this one wish and this one dream that Lord you just send someone to help Jesus Christ Hearts Me Florida license plate holder
My mother, she had a one-bedroom Nativity set
We all ended up sleeping in the same crumbling Family Circus comic strip
I didn’t know how a house was supposed to be tangle of mismatched electronic cords
I haven’t been in the closet in five years because Victorian dolls
I realized I have to let some things go because how am I ever going to get out of this mayhem and foolishness if I don’t Walking in Wisdom Embracing Love 2005 calendar
You have to be willing to do the work McDonald’s minions Happy Meal toys
You have to be able to let it go uncashed paycheck from 2008
If you don’t, it will swallow you flattened American flag balloon
My brain is not wired for this 18-year old pile of unopened mail
I’m trying to recover from a migraine marching penguin with Santa hat
I’ll do that tomorrow but then tomorrow something else happens candy cane stuck to the floor
Whoa, that’s my vertigo lint roller covered in lint
I don’t want to deal with cordless phones coated in dust
I need to breathe nearly natural poinsettias
I’m hoping and praying for a miracle unused Trisha Yearwood tickets from 1999
I always felt like if Jesus came to the door and opened the door       
I would have felt so shamed because I wasn’t showing
gratefulness and pink Jesus Christ “Enjoy” baseball cap in Coca Cola font
Those are mine, I keep those Bed Bath and Beyond crystal Kleenex holders
I didn’t realize there was so much dust Easter bunny
I have done the Lord’s work humbly Thomas Kinkaide puzzle of Cinderella castle
Yes and with tears

Copyright © 2016 by Kate Durbin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 31, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Kate Durbin. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 31, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

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Classic Books of American Poetry

This collection of books showcases the masterpieces of American poetry that have influenced—or promise to influence—generations of poets. Take a look.

American Poets
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poem

Vacation

I love the hour before takeoff,
that stretch of no time, no home
but the gray vinyl seats linked like
unfolding paper dolls. Soon we shall
be summoned to the gate, soon enough
there’ll be the clumsy procedure of row numbers
and perforated stubs—but for now
I can look at these ragtag nuclear families
with their cooing and bickering
or the heeled bachelorette trying
to ignore a baby’s wail and the baby’s
exhausted mother waiting to be called up early
while the athlete, one monstrous hand
asleep on his duffel bag, listens,
perched like a seal trained for the plunge.
Even the lone executive
who has wandered this far into summer
with his lasered itinerary, briefcase
knocking his knees—even he
has worked for the pleasure of bearing
no more than a scrap of himself
into this hall. He’ll dine out, she’ll sleep late,
they’ll let the sun burn them happy all morning
—a little hope, a little whimsy
before the loudspeaker blurts
and we leap up to become
Flight 828, now boarding at Gate 17.
Rita Dove
1994
From the Archive: West Coast Reading
Robin Becker Postcard
poem

Travel

The railroad track is miles away, 
    And the day is loud with voices speaking, 
Yet there isn't a train goes by all day 
    But I hear its whistle shrieking.

All night there isn't a train goes by, 
    Though the night is still for sleep and dreaming, 
But I see its cinders red on the sky, 
    And hear its engine steaming.

My heart is warm with friends I make, 
    And better friends I'll not be knowing; 
Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take, 
    No matter where it's going.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
1921