If there was a junk drawer for life, what would we find in it? – by Amanda Valerie Judd

The rabbit’s foot keychain you had before you even owned any keys,
more than one pair of jeans that you’re positive you’ll eventually fit back into,
a couple of exes you just can’t seem to let go off,
the ticket stub from your first concert (Eddie Money) signed by him while you sat in the back of his bus,
baby fat from your first born, who turns 30 this year,
old make-up, curling rods & flat irons, to help turn you into a woman you were never meant to be,
a postcard from the 1984 World’s Fair – a rare family vacation taken with your cousins,
the boundless energy you had in your 20’s (you were wondering where that was just the other day!),
a dream or two that you’ve been saving for “someday,”
your father’s dog tags that you’ve been planning to make into a necklace,
guilt over a million little things that never really mattered,
photographs of ancestors that no one in the family can identify anymore,
a New Order cassette tape – a reminder that you were once “edgy,’
a campaign button that reads “FOB” – today’s new, young voters might never know its meaning,
that chance you didn’t take when a great opportunity presented itself,
more than one awful present that you just couldn’t bring yourself to return or re-gift,
a small, plastic, purple dinosaur – a talisman from your son’s youth,
the memorized words to every song on the “Grease” album – the first real record you owned,
that magazine from 2010 with that recipe you still haven’t made,
the wedding dress that cost more than the divorce that followed it,
VHS tapes of family celebrations that you didn’t watch even when you still owned a VCR,
the need to please your parents even though they’ve been dead for 10 years,
the sombrero from your 40th birthday dinner at the Mexican restaurant you hate but your friends love,
and an endless supply of doubts, none of which are useful for anything.

Amanda JuddAmanda Valerie Judd received her AFA in Creative Writing from Normandale Community College. She is currently attending Southern New Hampshire University for her BFA in Creative Writing. In 2020, she won the Patsy Lea Core Prize for Poetry; 2021, her poem, “My Only Label” was nominated for “Best of the Net 2021,” and 2022, she won the St. Joe Co. Library “Spill the Ink” contest. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Graveyard Zine, MockingOwl Roost, Trouvaille Review, and Talking Stick 31. Visit her at http://www.amandavjudd.com