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THE CLOSET / Brooke Horvath I do feel that what has taken on many of the most important characteristics, emotionaUy, for people in our time are the objects for which we have no names, or those for which we have no particular symboUc importance. A shoelace would be an example ... so would closets . . . —Ron Silliman I The closet rests in a dream of cedar, of clothes waiting to walk through rooms of blinding sunUght of which the closet has heard vague rumors. Although the closet owns a dozen pairs of shoes or more, Uke a smaU chUd it cannot tie one shoelace, Uke a chUd it longs to run away to sea and change its name. Wishing to be left alone with its sweaters and golf clubs, the closet, affectedly signing itself "Clothespress," knows it has no Ufe of its own, is loved only for its possessions. In a camphor dialog with darkness, the closet masquerades as the space beneath the bed, the cupboard in which the dead chUd's toys are kept, knowing itself neither a symbol nor a metaphor. ? The closet imagines it has sold its memoirs to HoUywood . Robert Redford wUl star in a Dennis Hopper film based on the closet's addiction to soUed Unen. 248 · The Missouri Review Fancying itself a rising star, wishing to be caUed Cubby, the closet demands a new wardrobe, better Ughting, covering its waUs with pin-ups of guest rooms of the rich and famous. Dreams of success Ue pUed to the closet's ceUing. It posts new rules: storage of paint thinner or insecticides prohibited! No clandestine sex during parties! No walking in unannounced ! Every week cheap tabloids wiU Ue about the closet's contents, gossip columnists ask "what wUl the closet hold next?" The closet wiU install a pool, be seen in aU the right homes. Ill Such adolescent dreams the closet once entertained: of padded, scented hangers, ample, weU-ordered shelves, tidy rows of pastel frocks with labels reading "Dry Clean Only." MeanwhUe, the closet has been forced to take a second job. Working weekends and evenings as a longshoreman, the closet begins making off-color remarks about armoires. The closet feels unfulfilled, seeks excitement in danger, suggests itself as the perfect place to stash pharmaceuticals . Here, it whispers, behind the quilts, underneath the mukluks. Having lost its morals, its sense of right and wrong, the closet now packs a rod, obscene underwear from maU-order catalogs. Guests turn away embarrassed from life-size doUs behind the tennis dresses. Brooke Horvath The Missouri Review · 149 IV The closet cannot sleep, it's so upset. No one looks any more for his old mitt or her old muff. No one cares any longer about the secret life of storage space. The closet feigns indifference—its comforting darkness becomes a refuge in which it fumes and fusses, grumbling about moths and other things over which it has no control. Why is there so much dust, the closet queries. How long must I entertain wet umbreUas, boorish boots? Have I lost my youthful vim? The closet fears it has become a metaphor. This fear proves stifling. The closet may as weU be naüed shut, a locker for bafflement, a cabinet for sUence and stale air. The closet wishes it had never been buüt. 150 · The Missouri Review Brooke Horvath ...


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