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2008-05-01

Brooke Astor
B. 3.30.1902 Portsmouth, New Hampshire / D. 8.13.2007 Westchester
Stress

One thing I hope I don't remember when I'm an old woman:
the barn sale of my family's possessions when my father lost his job.
Still within me and counting this loss of really my parents' possessions of value—
things to keep away from thieves, the young and pets things that they'd kept in boxes,
things they'd hoarded and now my father
threw them on the pyre.
Books, rare books so many books I'd never ever seen before—
one ancient dark green folio disclosing watercolor drafts of Washington DC in the Egyptian style...
I hope I don't remember when I'm eighty the arrival
half an hour before the sale officially began
of the book dealers, pale-fleshed and humorless
unhappy people
entropy people
how they scooped
how it seemed to me they plundered my inheritance while I made change.
I don't want this memory to shake my agéd frame.

(2007)

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