I found them in a dusty bag in my mother’s attic,
buried under old board games.
Video tapes so unassuming
in their black plastic cases
one would never suspect they had captured
precious pieces of the past—
my father’s final words to his children,
staring into the camera with his shiny soulful eyes.
I watched the footage wishing
I could pull him from the screen into my world.
Another preserved my mom’s pre-stroke voice,
the one I couldn’t summon in my head
when I needed to hear it because I missed her,
looked for in old voice mails.
I listened now, drinking it in like a potion
to conjure up the mom I once knew.
I watch her giving a tour of our house
with its spacious bedrooms and yard
right before she sold it because dad got sick.
The beautiful woman with perfectly applied
makeup and wide smile preserved like a fine artifact —
had no idea her daughter would be watching and listening
decades later to her footsteps as she walked
in heels on our old house's wood floors,
to the words she spoke in her old voice,
wishing she was still here just the way she was.
Miriam Manglani lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband and three children. She works full-time as a Technical Training Manager. Her poems have been published in various magazines and journals, including Sparks of Calliope, Canyon Voices, Rushing Thru the Dark, and Paterson Literary Review. Her poetry chapbook, Ordinary Wonders, was published by Prolific Press.