Inspired by a photo of a stranger on a friend’s wall, Sharon Lask Munson’s poem considers the nature of our relationships to our ancestors. Illustration by Yaimel Lopez.
Our children, of course,
retain memories — loving or not.
Grandchildren might remember
the pipe smell of Dunhill London
or sugar cookie dough,
rolled out on a kitchen counter.
a framed portrait
tucked away in the linen closet
is merely that of a stranger,
something to be added
to garage sale odds and ends
along with the chipped Wedgwood
no one in the family wants.
A great-great grandchild,
rummaging in a local junk shop
might spy a familiar likeness, framed —
heart-shaped face, jutting chin, widow’s peak,
something about the mouth, the jaw
and on a whim, claim the old canvas,
hang it beside a corner bookcase
filled with used novels bought in bulk
to make a new home ageless.
To ensure that you never miss a future issue of the print magazine, subscribe from just £24 for 4 issues.