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A Reconstruction

When I came back, one year later,
the furniture was gone. Every room
bare. Neighbors were no longer friends.
They could not ask me in to verify
the rumors: in the parlor of #47, in
#30’s bedroom closet, on the second
shelf in #60 attic I would find

my mother’s wedding dress,
combs, candlesticks, the silver brooch
she wore to synagogue, the towels
she embroidered for her trousseau:

our dark walnut dining set, the Sabbath
tablecloth that glowed a thousand washdays,
eight chairs worn in eight different
ways, down quilts as still as snow,

beds: sixteen pairs of shoes, two sets of
Passover dishes, two sets of everyday
dishes, my father’s hat and footstool,
mother’s rocker,

sister’s school uniform, and the box
under each brother’s bed: soccer ball,
skates made of wood, wheels,
accounting books, a Russian novel in
Hungarian (a hand-stitched bookmark half-way
through), letters,

photographs—what would #20 want
with such old photographs—or the journal
I was keeping, to help me remember the
days at the end?

Florence Weinberger, who grew up in New York, has written poetry all her life. She is a graduate of Hunter College, and has been widely published in literary journals, including Poetry LA and a special issue of Kalic on women and aging. The former New Yorker now lives in California with her husband and two daughters.