For Anna Weaver and her Daughters
Asking for a rag to ‘undust’
the dresser of memories, she was given a veil
to hide the secrets hidden in the
drawers. She hadn’t opened them for years,
the dust slowly falling, flake by flake,
layers upon layer, moments, days, months,
years only interrupted when she dusted off
some time, the other lives she had lived.
The drawers remained quiet, their shame still
there, and the dust kept falling faster than she
could sweep it up, could erase the memories—
until the dresser finally disappeared, until
the dust became the dresser she sought to un-
What is the secret hidden in the countries
of the drawers? What is the taboo covered
over by the histories of veils
falling on the mirror of time like snow?
Her father will not talk to her, but knows,
says it doesn’t matter, it’s in the past
yet is something still common practice
that has to be observed without question.
But her mother knows, preserves what is left
in the bureau of her memory,
cries in the quiet corners of its night,
what was done to her as a child,
what generations of women only now un-
derstand: the unjust prejudice of pain.