Marin Poetry Center

Ode to a Box Filled with Smaller Boxes

By Adi Jolish

There are many things I retrospectively diagnose of my child self, but the most lovely
was my habit of collecting.
Everything I liked I would keep-
sticker sheets, business cards, necklace charms I found
on the side of the road. In my room I have a box
filled with hundreds of smaller boxes
nestled neatly one within the other.
Every dozenth box is filled with something
other than a smaller version of itself;
a pack of gum, a dozen erasers, a charger
to a device I don’t have anymore. I think I wanted
to keep myself guessing, to build myself a labyrinth
through which I would have to meander
if I wanted to retrieve any of my small treasures.
Many of the boxes have questions written in pen
on the inside of the lids. Questions like: How
did you spend your eighteenth birthday?
Where are you going to college? Did
you ever get a boyfriend? What
about your cousins, where
are they now? I remember getting a thrill
out of writing these notes to my future self,
knowing that at some point in time,
there would be answers in the spaces I had left.

Honorable Mention: Adi Jolish
Urban School

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