• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 10
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Down cellar in the old green house
in Amherst Mass, five different
shades of green, I found
a box of someone’s relatives,
swollen with the damp.
Long ago, he moved away,
Thinking to leave behind
All claim to kinship. The sepia
of long-steeped tea, they speak
a century of carefully-recorded births
and deaths: Grandma, white hair
sparked with frost, waits out
winter on the porch. A proud
entrepreneur beside his enterprise,
sign announcing “Pool Table
Sandwiches.” Yet even as these
details stand the seep of winter
and the summer storm, I see
someone has quite deliberately
de-faced these stout progenitors.
More shocking somehow than a skull,
their faces now a slur of white
marked only with the print of one
damp thumb. Despite the clear desire
to blot out everything, this unwilling
heir has left his portrait among theirs.
Beyond the power to deny, DNA’s
spiral calligraphy scrolls through his veins.
This scion—ambivalent, anonymous,
loses nothing in the move.