Things She Couldn't Let Go Of
Grant Clauser

Things She Couldn't Let Go Of

After she lost her leg
in a factory accident
when she was seventeen
my grandmother complained
for seventy-one years of cold feet
in the winter, phantom itches
when August brought mosquitoes
through the broken backdoor.
In her victory garden
she fought the perpetual
weeds that couldn’t be stopped
but by digging out the root
like the chickens that kept kicking
after she cut off their heads
until she scooped out the guts.
When we emptied her house
we found a closet filled
with left shoes never worn,
each one stuffed with newspaper
to keep their shape.
The bed she’d shared
with Grandfather leaned
to one side, his body’d
spooned out a hollow
she’d avoided for years.
On every table, counter,
and drawer, graying photos
saved from before the war,
her long body in long dresses
leaning against black cars
or sitting on front porches,
small feet in pretty shoes.
Under the bed, tied in twine,
letters from a private no one knew,
the last few never opened.

Grant Clauser

is the author of five books, most recently Muddy Dragon on the Road to Heaven (winner of the Codhill Press Poetry Award). His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Greensboro Review, Kenyon Review, and other journals. He works as an editor in Pennsylvania and teaches at Rosemont College.