In dreaming, I carry my grandmother’s

cut glass

punch bowl

up the stairs

down the stairs

How heavy it is.

I, the child, held my Maymee’s hand,

gently punching down her prominent blue veins.

“There is magic in this bowl, I whispered.

“See how the crystal makes lazy lighting bolts

on the ceiling?”

“Just sunlight refracting,” she muttered,

ever stern,

but she patted my hand,

“My baby.”

I sat at her feet, of an evening,

as she unpinned the long braids of her halo hair.

Down, down it fell,

shimmering, even as the refracted crystal

shimmered in the darkness of the house.

“Can I brush it, Maymee?”

“May I brush it, “ she corrected,

ever awash in rectitude,

but she handed me the brush.

Was that a hint of smile on her stone face?

The punch bowl held white gardenias

as she lay, dying from the secret cancer she watched

grow to its mortal end.

“Why didn’t you tell us?” wept my mother.

“I didn’t want to bother anybody.”

She patted my hand, “My baby,”

and was gone.

Now, I carry her, in dreaming, in waking,

as I enter her decade,

brushing my own grey hair,

a flowing conviction in my heart:

I will know joy.

I will shout love.

I will bother everyone.


by Elizabeth Clark-Stern

5 thoughts on “LEGACY

  1. This is so beautiful Elizabeth – so young and so old and such a vivid thread in the fabric of your life. I can feel the prominent veins in Maymee’s hand. I hope you will bother me!

  2. There’s something about your writing that penetrates deep into my being. Thank you for sharing your gift!

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