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"Inheritance" by Eva Valenti

You, too,

Once felt the shiver of this particular silk against your neck

As you prepared to go out

For the (morning? afternoon?)

Would you have used a pin?

I imagine that must have been the style.


I have yet to find a fashionable way to wear your scarf

And since your son, my father, deemed me worthy of its ownership

Years after you'd abandoned your dusty apartment and returned to dust,

I never had the chance to ask you for advice.

And anyway, it wouldn't have been you

But the Relic (I refer to the bones of a saint)

Of the woman who raised my father

Who, I've heard, was witty and in many ways ahead of her time

And was nothing like the fragile structure

That housed a frustrated soul forever pressing against its confines,

Ravaged by the baggage of a broken brain,

Staring back at a grandchild too young to appreciate

All that you'd ceased to be.

That I, alive and pretty,

Healthy and fashion-conscious and in love,

Have the option of claiming your scarf as my own--

I am grateful, but not at ease.

And anyway, would it have better complimented your blue eyes,

(or were they really blue?)



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