after Her Mother's Death
One small, beaten copper bowl,
child-sized and mottled green.
One smooth stone from Devon.
My mother's—ashes of her bones.
A battered Master Poets, un-seamed.
A suitor's ring from long ago.
For a woman of undetermined class,
each of these, a residuum
of her fall from an imagined place.
Once I mourned each missed chance,
grieved for every malfunction
and crossed happenstance.
Now I study her pictures, just two:
Manse beside a cistern on a hill.
(Once home? I'll never know.)
Two children in a metal locket—
these I know—a slender boy and girl
resting together in a leather wallet.
But this trove isn't all.
Gyrating filaments stowed
like lines at sea or on the Eel,
replicated, then slipped into a vial—
these are her remnants as well,
mine, wherever I go.
Zara Raab’s latest book is Fracas & Asylum. Earlier books are Swimming the Eel and The Book of Gretel, narrative poems of rural California. Her work, including book reviews as well as poems, has appeared in Verse Daily, River Styx, West Branch, Arts & Letters, Crab Orchard Review, Critical Flame, Prime Number, Raven Chronicles, and The Dark Horse. She is a contributing editor to Poetry Flash and The Redwood Coast Review. Rumpelstiltskin, or What’s in a Name? was a finalist for the Dana Award. She lives in western Massachusetts.