The first time Lola Puring broke a hip, she
refused to let the accident get the better of her. Within a year, she was
leaning on a walker and visiting friends. This is a chair she had made while she
was recuperating, so she didn’t have to make the trip from the bed to her
bathroom. Underneath the seat was a chamberpot. The yellow objects nailed to the
chair back are vases, coated plastic with scalloped rims. Did she ever arrange
flowers in them? I can only imagine her face, folded in equal parts pain and
pluck, framed in flowers as she sat.

can’t ask her now, as she is wandering, somewhere where tired old women go, even
women who once birthed babies and braved smelly ships to save orphans in the
name of the Holy Virgin Mary.

travelled in her youth, and apparently never let go of any

If souvenirs are meant to be the
catalyst of memory, what happens when the neurons loosen and our history blinks
and flickers like fluorescent lights about to burn out? Do they then become mere
reminders of dust? I find comfort in the things that surround me, things I touch
and roll in and fondle and lift to the afternoon light to glimpse a fairy
sparkle. Does touch transfer even a molecule of our desire, our pain, our secret
ambitions, our incoherent small rages, to the things we

If it were so, and if we owned
enough plastic, we would now and forever be nonbiodegradable.