We went back to the apartment crammed
with ninety five years of living to collect
some things to remember her by.
There were too many of us—twenty five
or so—Heaven for the children who opened
boxes, found old locks, pencil sharpeners,
magnifying glasses. The girls wore hats, necklaces,
carried purses, tried lipstick and perfume.
The boys unearthed a stamped leather notebook,
fifty year old pens, small tools, glasses.
We sorted through a lifetime of umbrellas,
thirty years of scarves, collected crystal
and dishes, garden chairs, furniture, paintings.
In the end, we took too much.
When we brought it home our house was a shrine—
her table, her lamp, her clock. On the wall,
her portrait, her mirror. In the mirror, me
wearing her hat, my daughter sleeping in her bed.
Elizabeth Cantonwine Schmidt is a librarian and mother of four from Kettering, Ohio. Her writing is inspired by turns of the mind, the color blue, history, relationships, and journey through the bloodstream.