Come here, girl, please forgive me for disregarding
your belongings over all these years.
Let me try to make amends.
I offer first this Crayola crayon that took the earth and spun
it into all the colors my fingers now know.
At first, purple dogs, pink cows and flaming yellow horses,
but then the tulips turned red, the leaves light green, and Mrs. Snyder
took your pictures up to show the first graders.
I offer next a steel-tipped pen which you used to spear
shapes from a black inkwell and string them out,
first as waves of letters on the page,
and then dumped them into a sea of words.
Here is your two-wheeler (with kick stand
and wicker basket) which allowed you to circle away,
peddle on past Carteret Street, beyond instructions to go
no further. More importantly, I offer you
this short wood stick to stir up deadly potions,
and, as a magic wand, full of electricity,
to command storms, conduct lightening and orchestrate
thunder. Oh, Manager of the Wind, I remember you.
I offer you this dollhouse, the white colonial
one with the opening and closing green shutters,
and Beloved Belinda, your Aunt Jemima doll, who sang
gospel songs with you late on Sunday nights when you listened
to the forbidden Harlem radio stations. You were a benevolent
and unbiased mother. You may be embarrassed,
but I’ve resurrected these chocolate cigarettes
with the realistic red tips and the doctor’s kit, (stethoscope,
bandages and all). Sucking on the cigarettes, I remember you as sooo
sophisticated, and you took the license (you will remember)
to explore the openings of friends and pets.
Nearby, I place the flexible flyer, the one
with the red metal steering bars. I see you flying
down the hills when you did not know
what was being carried off.
You, Penny and Anne all thought you were fair
Norwegian children like those you read
about in Heroes Aplenty who carried on their sleds
their country’s gold out of Nazi reach.
Finally, I offer this snow shovel, a replica of Dad’s.
After snow fell for days, you shoveled
ground clouds into mounds,
formed them into igloo rooms.
Sitting inside snow kept you warm
a long time, if not forever.
Published in ReImagining, Edited by Nancy
J. Berneking, Issue 13, Novemer 1997, Minneapolis,