The Memory of What Was Envisioned

From the collection Generous With the Details, 2017.

The Memory of What Was Envisioned

The expensive towels
and the bindings
slowly detaching themselves
more and more with each wash.
Their sad decline made worse
by the memory
of anticipated long-term luxury
they excited
when they were bought new
white and elegant
just two years ago. Now they are
barely achieving
run-of-the-mill status
never contenders
for a nice toweling-off
after a bath with fancy soap.
A disappointment. Thrift
and secret hopes
are all that keep them
in the linen closet.


Looks like a bath but it's a ceiling 8-13 small

Mail art postcard, 2013.

10 thoughts on “The Memory of What Was Envisioned

  1. I realized some time ago that my towels were in bad shape and due to my thrifty upbringing I would probably keep using them until they shredded, when I realized…I could get some new towels and the world would not end! What a revelation!

  2. I can relate to this poem. I was clinging on to the towels we bought when we first emigrated because it had only been four years and I had invested money in them and they ought to still be plush and fluffy and super absorbent. I finally gave myself permission to buy a whole new set of towels because really some things are not worth scrimping on or settling for and towels get used daily so they really ought to be tip top.

  3. Yes. I remember when I went to college, my mother bought me the cheapest towels, and I used them through school plus for a while afterwards, when they were thin and very sad. Never one day did I like using them. Sounds like a small thing but it is the details of everyday life that can make a difference that can either nag at you or please you each day. Now I have towels I like and when they get limp and tired, I will donate them to the animal shelter and get some more.

  4. Growing up in poverty meant I developed a thick skin early on about my hand me down clothing, free school meals etc. However, I remember being embarrassed that my towel for school swimming was a thin, scratchy towel of the type the local miners used when they came above ground from the pits. We had better towels at home but my mother didn’t want them leaving the house and getting lost or damaged. That towel felt like a scarlet letter to me. Decent towels, therefore, are something I’ve always owned.

  5. I felt the same way when my towels were hanging in the college bathroom with everyone else’s and looking like they were well aware of their paucity of plush and pile. And they were not comfortable to use. Never again. Even my beach towels are nice and cozy for the pool. Funny thing, my husband prefers a thin scrawny towel for the gym because he says it fits in his bag better. Well, there you are. There is a place for those towels after all.

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