Sunday, November 12, 2023

My Children Ask Me Why I Have So Much Stuff by Tamara Madison

Your preschool art projects:
Hand-painted tiles, clumsy clay pots
brought home for Mother’s Day
A box of books you made in kindergarten
A lock from your first hair cut
A tin of your teeth
Boxes full of photographs of you at all stages:
Naked, toothless, chubby
As Superman in a Halloween parade
Onstage, a Nutcracker snowflake
You playing with cousins
Walking Auntie’s shelty
Sitting on Grandpa’s lap
Your suntanned face bobbing in a crowd
at summer camp
You in tassled cap and gown
Why are you keeping all this crap? they ask
I don’t tell them why I keep these remnants,
don’t say that to throw away mementos
feels like inviting death

Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbooks The Belly Remembers (Pearl Editions) and Along the Fault Line (Picture Show Press), and three full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic, Moraine (Pearl Editions), and Morpheus Dips His Oar (Sheila-Na-Gig Editions). Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, Your Daily Poem, the Writer’s Almanac, Sheila-Na-Gig, Worcester Review, and many other publications. She is a swimmer and a dog lover. More about Tamara can be found at

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