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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 9, Number 3, September 2015

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Mary Frederick Ahearn
Pottstown, Pennsylvania, USA


Hardwood

People's possessions speak of them: they are resonant and betraying and reflective.
                                                                     —Penelope Lively, Ammonites and Leaping Fish

"Burn it!" he mutters, half to himself, half to me. In ill humor and failing health this July afternoon close to his birthday, Dad wants it settled—the fate, the distribution of his beloved furniture. Together, in silence, we look at it—the high book-cased desk, the china closet, buffet tables, marble topped tables, mirrored hall stands and more. The furniture is heavy, dark and formal. He knows already that the pieces are too big for my small house. They will end up in an estate sale, an auction house, then to the houses of strangers.

on back roads
walnuts left ungathered—
my father's sighs

A flash of temper, then sorrow, this afternoon of tears. His and mine. He repeats, "Burn it then . . ."

thunder then lightning
counting down the seconds
as he taught me

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