Intimate Furniture photo & all text © Irene O’Garden, 2012

To hear the spoken version, click Intimate Furniture


Spared the junk heap: a chest of drawers, a mirror and a lamp. Swaddled in plastic and cardboard, freighted cross-country to us at the request of my sensitive husband. Intimate furniture, this.

Chest with a delicate marquetry nosegay, lately relieved of my lonely sister’s glut of grim novelty outfits, she herself lately relieved of her loneliness, finally, now, at the memory home, where she sleeps in its matching nosegay bed, with the match to the crystal lamp.

Deeper in previous, chest, lamps and mirror: proud possessions of my namesake great aunt. The bureau: a home to her silk slips, society sweaters. Home to the pearls at the base of her goiter. Mirrored. Home of adornments and longing. Intimate furniture, this.

Sensing it now before purchase and lacquer: a cabinetmaker’s affair. Love of wood and of work spelled in matching veneers, glowing in torches of wood grain. Topped with the shapely frame he carved and bent, glue drying, til the day he slipped the glass in and beheld himself, maker of his own image.

One grieving day the bed and chest will reunite, the crystal lamps will find each other. The mirror gathers new faces in flashes, adjusting appearance, emotions. The chest receives the sift of peachy powder, the mustache clip, the sprouting gray. Intimate furniture. Every humble meaning, stored behind the glass, within the drawers, by the unconditional light of the crystal lamp.


Do you have a piece or two of intimate furniture?

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