Living Midair    poems by Karen June Olson April 2019

A Grandmother’s Mirror

Grandma treasured her cherry wood
dresser with mirror. So prized, her friend
Marilyn offered to buy it out from under her.
Grandma said she wasn’t dead yet
and besides, mirrors keep secrets.

The dresser passed to my mother and it filled
with ruby lipstick, polish, and rouge. Embroidered
handkerchiefs with ironed edges. A string of pearls.
Letters. After the dresser moved to me the secrets

Inside a stationer’s box my name was changed
on papers with a notary’s seal. An apology written
in slanted script yellowed in an envelope. A photo of a man
with my eyes, my lips. What was untold

My daughters stand beside me now. One is tall
and lean, the other full-bodied with baby. Together
we feel for movement and nod. Are we within a photograph,
the dresser mirror our frame? My hands move
instinctively and brush away the dust.

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