The hinged lid, gilded with fluted edge,
a red velvet lining remembers traces
of its early flame. The mirror, aged
and wise still does not lie; her mother’s face
is reflected in her smile.
An amethyst, an opal, a few pieces of gold,
solid, old, enduring, a strand of pearls,
demure as if brand new, three baby bracelets,
the kind hospitals used to give, each with a name
embossed on beads of pink and white.
And so the ancient box reveals
the history of a wife who failed
and no matter all the good she’d done
he worked his farm
without a son.