The Best Literary Writing About Mothers and Motherhood

Lisa C. Taylor – Heirlooms

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Lisa C. Taylor

Heirlooms

for Annie

She darkened windows
to halt vertigo,
brewed broth from chicken necks
for migraines,
buried sickness on a plate
twenty-two steps from the back door.

I imagined her hairnet
spun from spider webs.
Dust motes saved in a muslin bag.

No waste.

Great Grandma wore
an underskirt, high collar,
rollup stockings of flesh-hued cotton.
Lip swollen on one side. Loose teeth.
Rolling pin and arthritic hands.

Kin, not akin.

She bent religion to fit, never believed
a dishwasher could purify
or anyone but God predict a storm
but tragedies elbowed past
regardless of daily prayers.

Convinced she heard spirits or animals
with her enormous ears,
I fancied her immortal.

No planes, or island cruises,
her life, a daily chronicle
of dustpans and ladles.
Funerals outpaced births and weddings,
as all her children died one by one.

A past from seventy-five years ago.
A past from yesterday
or the last hour.

Her delight at a grasshopper or rainbow.
Love and nature outlive us all,
is what she said.

I laugh when I break a cup,
tiptoe around pieces
of nothing-that-matters,
keen over poetry.

No jewels, only
a delicate lacing of wrinkles,
her sharp clavicle
under a flowered housedress.

A scarcity of heirlooms
when she died,
chipped crystal glass,
tin thimble.

No one leaves without a trace,

scrim of her cells
in me, crook of sorrow,
improbable joy.


Lisa C. Taylor  is the author of four collections of poetry and two collections of short fiction, most recently Impossibly Small Spaces. Her honors include the Hugo House New Works Fiction Award, Pushcart nominations in fiction and poetry, and numerous shortlist distinctions. A recent transplant to a small mountain town, Lisa is trying to master mountain biking and wearing hats. Lisa will have another collection of poetry published in 2022.

Share.

Comments are closed.