L.L. Barkat’s “Love, Etc.” volume 8

from Combing:




we take them home, thinking

we will find a place for them

on the window sill,

but the light isn’t quite right

and the garden has a little spot

where the pink begonias grow in Spring

that simply seems




Does it matter now?


L.L. Barkat


Next month, I am going to the beach. (Yes, I’m going in September—fewer crowds, less heat.) When I went as a child, I always brought home shells. And I never knew what to do with them. Somehow, they never looked right, separated from their home.

Now I make a habit of buying something practical when I’m on vacation, something I’ll use often and always remember where I bought it. Last year when we went to South Padre, I bought an orange pitcher for my tea. At the moment, it holds coconut green tea with lemongrass and ginger.

My family went to South Padre nearly every year when I was growing up. One year, I saved the shells I couldn’t find a sill or a garden for, and that October, bought a ceramic display dish at the Hallmark store owned by my now-boss’s parents. I put the shells in the curved hollows of the dish and gave it to my mom for her birthday. That was 25 years ago. My mom has been gone for four years. That dish and those shells are still displayed in her bathroom. I guess that space by her tub was “wanting.”

So, yes, it does matter now.