Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Poetry Tuesday: "Artifacts"

A few weeks ago, I got my contributor of The Atlanta Review, which published two of my poems.  Because my writing time is short this morning, let me post one of them here.

You will likely read this and assume I'm writing autobiography, and in a way, I am.  My grandmother did have a wonderful tin of buttons; shaped by the Great Depression, she saved every button before using the cloth from worn out clothes for other purposes.  I have no idea what happened to that button tin.

She did have beautiful hydrangea bushes.  I have often wished I saved some of the soil that she created by composting, but I didn't.  I don't have her soil on the mantel, but I have lots of other artifacts that remind me of times long gone.


In the end, so little is left
behind: a tin filled with every button
that ever came into the house,
a hydrangea bush blooming blue
in someone else’s back yard.

I sew a button onto one seam
of each garment in my own closet, a hidden
token to remind me of you.

Some might keep ashes,
but I dig from your compost patch,
the place where you buried
the scraps left from every meal you ever ate.

You followed the almanac’s instructions,
but I don’t have that resource.
I blend your Carolina dirt
with the sandy soil that roots
my mango tree.

Some of it I keep in a jar
that once held Duke’s mayonnaise.
I place it on the mantel
of the fireplace I rarely use,
to keep watch with a half burned
candle and a shell
from a distant vacation.


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