Object permanence

There are some things, like the handkerchief
you got at the funeral, or the germ-counter,
the gold watch, or the grandfather clock
that hold ghosts of people, like a closet full
of clothes holds ephemera on the floor,
underneath everything you look at every day.
You think maybe they watch you, as you sort
through shirts, sweaters, jackets, hats tipping
over from the shelf above, nearly knocking into
your eyes as you struggle to pull a cardigan
off the hanger and another one falls onto the floor,
somehow dirtier than the rest of your house,
dustier even though the closet door’s always closed,
and you catch them: the cousin’s suit case
you’ve been holding on to for years, the broken
lamp you can’t throw away because of
the ghost, it is its own ghost, will you be?
This is what you come back to, every time:
what will you inhabit afterwards, what things
will be fought over, like the saddle, by
your children, what will be pored over
by scholars to ferret out some meaning hidden
by time, lurking under the obvious, what
will surprise you, spinning in your grave,
that anyone cares anything about any more,
that was least important? Are you scared
to give up the keys to your life, worried
more about what they will find, or what
they won’t?
            After all, you asked grandfather
if you could have his germ-counter, and when
he said no, you thought it meant importance;
but now he’s gone, it’s nowhere to be found,
either: it probably meant nothing to him.