The Grief Museum

Shae Foley

Inside the closed room that was supposed to hold a baby,
my mother curates the family taboos.

Cultured patrons clothed in black shuffle through to see what it used to look like when
my parents eyes held more than middle distance.
When
my mother was not wearing the same stained t-shirt days on end.
When
my living sister and I had more than each other when we woke up scared in the middle of the night.

There was a time when “yes,” meant, “yes,” and not
“Please go away.”
A time when the lines near my mother’s eyes
were not chasms of uncrossable pain.
A time when laughter over dinner was not tacked to the wall behind
the velvet rope of memory.
A time when donuts at sunrise, roadtrips and singing, the stories my father used to tell

were the materials of a life, not simply artifacts of joy.

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