It’s too neat in here. Everything dangerous has been picked up, just some grit left underfoot.

The shelves are ugly and next to them is a garbage chute leading God knows where. Entire pallet loads get dumped in there: 2 years, 3 years, 4 years, as boxes wind up on the charity van, back in the world. Some of it is shredded; some is crisp—laundered once, folded, never worn.

I need to tidy up before the next of it surges in and needs to be sorted.

The room is round, white, shadowless. I don’t try to make it beautiful anymore; the things that occupy it are already too beautiful.

Tiny sand dollars, red leaves, fat green seedpods picked up from the path home from school—I put them on the highest shelf, where they will turn to dust.

And then I see the shadow of a bear.