Memory lurks in them
by Marge Piercy
Sometimes I wander my house
counting the few things I have
from my mother: the jade
necklace my father gave her
and denied giving, lest he recall
how much early on he loved her.
Her gilded vase from a yard sale;
two pins rescued from her jewelry
box: a butterfly and a turtle, of no
value except they were hers; a shawl
she asked me for, never wore.
My books inscribed to her.
The lamb stew she made regularly
and called beef stew so my father
would eat it; her apple cake she
could never give me the recipe for.
I figured it out from a Jewish cook
book; not one other recipe or thing.
Such small remainders from a life
of almost ninety years. She was my
muse yet tried to stuff me back into
the narrow role she occupied. Her
pain shaped me to a feminist; I look
out at the world through her dark eyes.
Copyright © 2018 by Marge Piercy.