I Tell My Children

If you want to know me, look in here.
There will be no other record after I’m gone.
These slim cardboard volumes are what I leave in place of ashes;

these and the songs I sang to you at bedtime,
the melodies I hummed while stirring vegetable soup
late at night with the first autumn cold snap.

You will not find me bound in tidy brown leather,
gold leaf lettering the cover, nor embellished
with stickers on acid-free paper.
I will be faded to almost nothing where I wrote in pencil.

When you read, you may hear my alto or perhaps
remember the way my freckled hands turned pages.
You may discover a blossom pressed where it fell

unnoticed from the wisteria one summer.
Remember how it grew in braids up the ancient Cedar
by the corner of the house; how in early morning

while you slept, I sat beneath walnut trees,
wrote about robins digging worms in rain-soaked soil,
the crescent moon at daybreak?

You will find me recalling a certain sunset,
Lauren’s golden hair, Sara tasting ocean sand,
the smell of Luke when he was seven.

If you look, you will find me here–
quiet in the hammock, the apple I was eating
fallen to the ground unfinished.

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