Author’s Note: During the pandemic, I wrote roughly 60 poems about Betty; it was interesting to be so absorbed in her world. She is a person of marginal means living in an occupied village somewhere in the rural United States sometime in the future. Betty’s background is similar to mine, but she is hardier and more realistic. In this poem, she is reviewing her physical inheritance and the lives of her relatives.
Betty Has Brass Candlesticks in Her Bedroom
By story, an inheritance from a distant relative—
so distant they owned something.
But her uncle stuffed rags
in the cracks of the walls to keep warm.
Her aunt struggled from picking apples
to become a farmer of this quarter acre.
Did her parents have gold in secret
but preferred potatoes for every meal?
Betty thinks her inheritance
is elsewhere. A dream of travel
to a land where they would be
the lucky sparrows of fields of millet.
Samn Stockwell has published in the New Yorker, Agni, and Ploughshares, among others. Her two books, Theater of Animals and Recital, won the National Poetry Series (USA) and the Editor’s Prize at Elixir, respectively. Recent poems are in On the Seawall Gargoyle & Sugar House Review and are forthcoming in Plume, and others. She lives in Vermont. Website: www.samnstockwell.org
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