Inventory: For Beatrice

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Today marks two years since my grandma passed away. It seems strange to think she has been gone for that long, because it feels like only yesterday but also much longer, all at once. I miss her. We used to run errands together, went on little road trips to visit my family, had season tickets to the local professional theatre company. From the time I was old enough to put full sentences together, we talked about everything. Even in the teenage days when I hated talking on the phone, we could talk for hours, and having her for the first twenty-one-and-a-bit years of my life was an incredible blessing.

I wanted to share a poem with you today that I wrote as part of the collection detritus that I wrote as the final project for a poetry class I took my last semester at university. As I wrote the book, I realized that it was about the pieces of debris that accumulate and make us who we are. It has all kinds of traditional and conceptual poetry in it (including, among other things, a piece that is actually a bibliography, formatted according to the Chicago Manual of Style), and includes the poem below. I was thinking one night about the things that I learned from my grandma, the fingerprints left behind in her absence, and this list poem came out of it.

So here it is, an inventory of things I inherited from my grandma:




for beatrice


i inherited from her a love of words,

and of talking feminism late into the night;

a ziploc freezer bag full of stolen pens;

fearlessness in the kitchen;

a spirit that does not suffer fools gladly;

a passion for obscure historical fiction;

bones that will never face osteoporosis;

determination to attend every local theatre production;

a one-hundred-year-old copy of treasure island;

the inability to draw straight lines;

dedication to a multitude of causes;

an assortment of costume jewelry;

love for a smelly winter town;

complete and utter clumsiness;

an attitude of pragmatism;

unwillingness to compromise on things that matter;

the most stylish collection of old lady shoes;

a heart that holds family in highest regard;

and an abiding love for chocolate cream pie.


With all the gratitude and sadness and hope that comes from having loved and lost,