His thin script tallied mountains climbed, how long each child took to summit. We never touched his records. After he died, my mother led us to each nook, attic or closet where she stowed their treasures. In the walk-in cooler, a cardboard whiskey box held silver ashtrays, wrapped in newsprint, a bowl engraved June Sixteen Nineteen Fifty-one. She brushed the balls of camphor off the wool snowsuit she'd worn at two. Nothing thrown away. Andirons, taxidermy, a scruffy bighorn with glassy eyes, the broken stubs of my pastels. I wish you'd use them. I'd loved the clean expanse of unmarked paper—but each line, each smudge of chalk was a tiny death. Instead I used the diapers, remembering the girl who watched the ritual nappery: the brother talcumed and wriggling, the waffled folds, the bite of the pin.
Kathryn Weld is a mathematician and a poet living just north of New York City. She teaches at Manhattan College. She still spends summers in a rustic family home in the Adirondacks. She received her M.F.A. from Sewanee School of Letters and her Ph.D. (in Algebraic Topology) from the CUNY Graduate Center. She was a finalist in the Gearhart Poetry Contest.