This Is To Tell You


This is to tell you that your silver's gone
to one granddaughter, and the other's taken
the china that you said was much too fine
to serve on, which perhaps will not be broken
in transit. Neighbors, come to pay their last
respects, went home with armfuls: your good glasses,
blankets, sheets you grew frail on, and those best
slips you were saving for forgotten dresses.

The heavy-lidded pot in which you conjured
your sacramental chicken, your brown stew
ambrosial with onions, I took home, whom your
firstborn took home to you decades ago,
when you were bent with fruit, a summer bough,
and I was half the age my son is now.


Rhina P. Espaillat, Playing at Stillness, Truman State University Press, 2005.