five by five hundred

My mother could see entire universes
in an empty walnut shell.
She worked in miniatures –
pipecleaner bits became trees
in Lilliputian panoramas
that she’d sell at church bazaars.

I followed suit, making entire families
from bread bag ties and toilet paper,
launching them on ships of tinfoil.
Stories from trash, something from nothing.

My wonder gave way to chagrin
at the age where labels took precedence.
I was embarrassed by resourcefulness,
wanted nothing to do with makeshift ornamentation.

Want overrides need until
you’re not able to improvise anymore.
There is no potential in the incidental.
For a time, I lost the ability to create.

And so I keep gluing flotsam to jetsam,
cotton balls to felt,
making something from incongruous nothings –
something approximating home.

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