Poems in a Drawer

Karen Wood

this past was waiting for me 
when i came. . .
and i with my mother's itch
took it to breast
and named it
	-Lucille Clifton

Little Butterfly
can you tell me
what happens when we die?

You flutter a funny allegro dance 
in search of nectar.
I flutter, but without your grace.

Tell me Butterfly, 
what happened
when she died?

I set out to destroy the dam
that has halted the flow 
of feelings.
I risk drowning 
in search of, you, Grandmother,
and myself.    

You wrote
"Most of the things
	Which people want much,
Are usually the things 
	That are just out of touch"
But who can tell me,
how out of touch are the dead?
how far away are you?

"Knowing full well this heart unskilled
Will cling to ghosts it has not killed"
I seek to confront the questions of my past.
But I would not want to kill your memory,
rather I seek to flesh it out.
I merely have the edge pieces of the puzzle
mostly put together,
all the rest lies in disarray across the table.

Sifting through dozens of photographs
shut up in the drawers of a coffee table,
I scan the faces of so many people
I never knew, and recognize
my big round eyes, long nose,
marvel at the features they have given me
and wonder what other genetic heirlooms
are lurking in my body

Eighteen short poems
little windows into your life.
Did you know that when you died
someday all your belongings
would be thrown on the world?
That some child you never dreamed of
would cherish
every syllable that you wrote.