A Collection of Parts

She jigsawed herself together
from pieces culled over a lifetime;
her childrens' old clothes,
six trunkfuls of beaded gowns,
three decades of newspapers,
quilts and dishes, 
yellowed love letters written in French.

Her youngest torched the garag.e
Another was quickly rebuilt and packed 
like the last.

When crossed, she beat my cousins
and once shredded the wallpaper
with her nails, pieces drifting
like tears to the dusty floor.

My uncle sat there, lips sealed
while I quaked in the corner and wondered
why God spoke through him so strongly
in the pulpit, but not in his own home.

Oddly, my aunt's long tapered fingers
that slapped, beat and fluttered endlessly
over her treasures by day still could resurrect
Mozart, in all his ghostly beauty,
from her piano at night.

His music swirled through the darkened rooms,
soothing the burdened house and mesmerizing
us all until our bellies finally unknotted
and we slept, the moon slatting
our faces with light.

Pris Campbell

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