My mother went twenty-two years with nothing,
so she married my father and bought everything.
I have gone all of my years with her gifts
and want only to be groundless and freed of my stuff.
She says if I’d ever grown up like she did,
in squalor, I’d be more grateful.
I tell her if she’d had all the things which I’ve had
she’d have learned not to value them so much.
Shall the circle be broken in a daughter of mine,
shall I raise her to love only necessary things?
Or will she despise me for what I withheld,
all the excess I deemed she was better without?
Will all of that melt away and never be settled
because I was too busy packing?
Yes, packing for the mountains, packing for the snow,
packing to find out just how far one freckled girl can go
and oh too busy stuffing things in pockets, folding clothes,
to be concerned with having daughters- for who has time for those?
It does me good to know in what size bag my life can fit
and every once in a while to hop a bus or plane with it
and know that if my house were crushed, a thousand miles away,
I’d be okay-
not much more than some objects lost,
though mom would probably wish
I’d brought an extra sweater.