THINGS WE KEEP: The old china plate, long separated from it’s set, lived for years as a saucer beneath a clay pot of summer geraniums on the porch of my sister’s house, having migrated with her from Richmond to Raleigh. When friends later came to divvy up her plants, it was left on the steps, it’s lovely earthen patina revealed. I wrapped it in newspaper and stuffed it in a box of other things I would haul away, careful not to disturb the evidence of its aging. If inanimate objects have a soul, and why not really, I imagined this plate thinking, why me?, placed in a box with other “special” things. I’ve asked myself that, later going through things I’ve kept. And all these boxed up items, sitting patiently wondering if maybe someday I’d come back to them and find purpose for them once again. “Shoot me, please....” they say. And eventually I do.