"Inheritance" by Eva Valenti
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?)