The Dresser by Paige Blackburn
Okay, so, say you’re moving out, and you’ve got to leave the furniture behind. You know, because you’re not moving out, you’re being kicked out, and the furniture is not yours, so you’ve got to empty this dresser: a big, ancient thing with dozens of drawers (you wonder what something like it is even doing here for, but whatever). “I don’t have time for this!” you cry. So you’re emptying the dresser, and there’s this one last drawer (of the so many drawers) that you’ve never used (there’re so many that all your clothes had always fit with extra room), but you’ve opened all the other ones already, so you’ve just gotta check. You tug, but it’s stuck—jammed or sticky, but stuck—and you pull and pull, itch itch itch, and, eventually, you pull a crowbar out and tug tug itch, and it just won’t go. You can almost hear the nice pop sound it’d make. Just a little bit further… and still nothing. You remove the drawer above it and stick your head in the hole and see that the stuck drawer isn’t empty! There’s this strange little man squinting at you from the corner, and he grumbles something you don’t understand but that you know to be true, and you look around him to find he’s made a mansion of the place! A little grandfather clock complete with glass door and swinging pendulum, a deep bed with silk sheets and expensive quiltings—all of it, fashioned from nothing! At first, you are surprised, then impressed, then your ears start floating in that way you know something is wrong. You realize that, while you now know the contents of the mysterious drawer, it’s still never technically been opened, and that’s obviously a problem. And how could you ever open it if you haven’t any hands? (You obviously can’t be sure you have hands, seeing as you haven’t seen yours in a while.) So you go to check that you’ve still got hands, but your head gets stuck. Your first thought is, “Yeah, great, now I’ll never have hands again. Also, do I even have a head?” even though you know very well your hands are braced on the dresser, and your head is stuck in the hole. But you can’t even concentrate, either, because that weird little man down there in the semi-dark is hissing at you. “I know, shut up.” And he won’t. Then, eventually, the landlord man comes in all upset (he’s upset?), and he’s saying you should be gone. You try to explain the issue, but he can’t hear you well, so he just tries to get you out, to no avail. So he says, “You’ll have to pay for the dresser.” Then he moves both the dresser, you, your head, and the little man inside out to the curb. After a few days, you manage to crawl into the dresser completely, but you can’t get out for some reason, and you’ve squashed the little man and his house. The only source of light shines down upon the dead little man, so you just sit there and think about the implications of what you’ve done. Maybe you write a poem about it, on the walls of the dresser where no one will ever find it, with a pen you’re not sure has any ink, with hands you are unsure of owning that like to shrink and grow in the dark.
Paige Blackburn is a young poet and author from Illinois. She is currently a student, freelance writer/artist, and food-service worker. You can find some of her other, shorter pieces on Instagram @blackinkburnedpaiges.