word-poem:\\ ersatz

ersatz: an artificial article that serves as a substitute for something natural or genuine

Taking inventory

On Sundays, I paw through past-due cardboard cartons
and fallow valises crammed with ersatz keepsakes
or I shuffle and reshuffle papers, meaning to get through all this crap
before I die.  I unearth disparate items, somehow related
although how, I cannot say.  Here are: two braids, one is my grandmother’s,
the other mine, strikingly alike in their wiry texture;
a small envelope of curls, either my brother’s or mine, who knows;
the only possession of my father’s I have hung on to,
a plaid flannel shirt too small for my new rotundness,
but with a sort of logic, as I have now long outlived
his age at death; tie-dyed-tee-shirts and tattered
jeans embroidered with peace signs. And here
is this .22 revolver, whatever is it doing here,
given to me for protection when I lived in Tallahassee,
that I once pointed at my heart, feeling too betrayed
by that organ to blow my brains out, but didn’t, my mother
being still alive then, and how could I do that to her?

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One Response to word-poem:\\ ersatz

  1. mark says:

    The past is complicated, getting to see life on the road you travel is not. How fascinating it is being in your shoes. Thank you Risa, keep lightening the load it’s wonderful for all of us.

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