Heirloom poem image by Veronica Kornberg

HEIRLOOM

Child’s chair: sole survivor among

things touched by my grandmother.

The bent ash, soaked and rounded,

gleams where a girl’s muslin dress

once rubbed. Scratches, where buttonhooked

shoes scuffed. Patina darkened to blood

mahagony, sweat silted into every divot.

The husband lost to German cavalry.

The daughter and two sons handed over

to strangers. The starting over.

 

How did it feel to watch my mother,

late child of a second marriage, run

her dimpled hand over the same ashwood

or tilt back on two legs and stress the frame?

To see the seat canes breached, re-woven.

Such fights, such marmalades and moths

this chair has weathered, yet it promenades

still, with a subtle bend in the foot,

plaiting light by my workroom window.

Published in Valparaiso Poetry Review

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