Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2022  Vol.21  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Objects, Permanence

Framed magnolia leaves from Seattle’s Arboretum,
split of tobacco-curing cabin wood, blue jay feather,
your Grandma’s old ring on your finger. I see them
every day, thank god: we’ve made this house together.

For, regarding things, I never could preserve my share.
When the pink stuffed monster I held each night at six—
the story goes the man gifting it thought my curly blonde hair
meant I was girl—disappeared, after a night of crying, kicks,

I forgot. So I resurrect my mother’s memory: dragged ceaseless
that strange animal through the house till it
was gone. And then, I hear her voice—yes, voices
I keep best—as it comes later through the flapping fabric

of a monkey’s mouth, see her hand exaggerate the lack,
shaking shaggy arms she knows will make me squeal.
She could animate any form: monster, my father, macaque,
those few voicemails I’ve kept—dull sounds, like rust off your silver ring.

We try to keep what makes us
memory, yours sealed
in their stilled craft, mine what smothers me soft in their telling.  

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