Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MY MOTHER LEFT ME, by KAREN SWENSON

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

MY MOTHER LEFT ME, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: 24 pairs of unmatched white gloves
Last Line: She left me.
Subject(s): Death; Gloves; Legacies; Mothers & Daughters; Dead, The; Mittens; Muffs

24 pairs of unmatched white gloves -
kid, cotton, and the summer web of Irish crochet -
those pinched fingers never fit anyone.
They are the leftovers
from the clutch and carry of her ladyhood
left on counters,
lost in pews and taxicabs
meant to feel nothing
and leave no prints.
I keep them in the bottom drawer
and wear my hands raw in winter.

She willed me
one pair of pigskin driving gloves
soft with her sweat,
splayed at the seams
worn into the shape of her grip on the wheel.
Those gauntlets her death threw down
I pick up from Buffalo to Bozeman.
They hold themselves loose on my hands
as though hers lie over mine
while I ease the wheel
through turns of fortune
wearing the drive

she left me.

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