Penn State York

Excavation Sites by Ashlee Geib

Four bedrooms and a two-car garage
misshapen shrubberies, a decoy goose
potted plants from which spring ragged weeds
two locks to keep you inside, four locks to keep them out:
the final resting place of
mother.

Site 42:
Maytag obelisks in the kitchen
held together by Velcro, locks and keys
an ice core determines what’s inside:
television dinners, insecurities swathed in
layers of sandwich baggies, wedding cake—pre Y2K—
bitter freezer-burnt meatloaf that always had too many onions.
Carbon dating is unnecessary;
landslide prone pantry shelves prove too perilous.

Site 166:
Timothy’s old bedroom, now
an exposition of excess and
relics of our childhood:
Rock hard Flintstones vitamins, Wal-Mart bath sets, Tom Clancy novels, puddles of butterscotch candies, jogging shoes which never hit pavement and a heap of stuffed animals
loved gently.

Site 4:
Blaze a trail through an acreage of
empty boxes and unkempt vines of candy necklaces
to the master bedroom.
The entryway gapes
distended from the catalogue of films and CD-ROMS spilling
into the hallway: Misery
The Lion King, and One Flew Over
the Cuckoo’s Nest among them;
Pavarotti and Celine Dion smile forlornly through the rubble.

Site 233:
Here mother lies, deep in the bowels of her tomb
preserved in
the bomb shelter cellar she built to keep out
anxiety, family, scrutiny.
Four hundred pounds of scoopable Tidy Cat kitty litter,
50 cans of Great Value beets and a treadmill. All she needed to
sustain her osteoporotic frame,
tree bark skin and sinkhole cheeks, but
petrified roots immobilized her an
delved too deep into the cold earth.
Strewn around:
mummified remains of revered companions, a copy of Cujo and
photographs of us all.