Generational Memories


I rarely wear them.

The clasp gets jammed and the string is worn,

But the shiny eyes remind me of her—

Of all of them—the women that came before,

So I persist until the pieces sigh together.


Mama used to tell me about how the bacon grease and her grandma’s laughter 

Drifted down to her mattress in the basement

Like sunlight.

She never got the guest bedroom

Or the fold-out sofa bed—

Those were for her siblings when they visited.


I never got the mattress in the basement,

Just a smile neither of us remembered,

And later my inheritance—

Rusty pearls and her biscuit cutters.

Imperfect preservations.