With reverence I walk dark hall to closet
where pretty stacked boxes hold something
of the dignity that was hers.
Reaching, my fingers find the elegant, cream-colored
pillbox hat that in life refined her classic beauty,
in death might adorn her with a crown.
After the funeral I stumble again toward the closet,
not to try on one of Grandma’s many hats, which
never look the same on someone else –
But to open the boxes one by one, to breathe deeply
that something of what has been lost might
spill out onto me, missing sweet sixteen.
Closets cleaned, I’ve come too late. I will never wear
Grandma’s hats and can only memorize her face,
learn to walk in her footsteps down this hall.