AND THEIRS, THEM
by Judith Offer
We are the women of small histories/
diaries, journals, letters to our sisters/
whose mothers recited earlier accounts
while mixing turkey stuffing or brownies
in any coffee-flavored kitchen.
We are the keepers of lesser treasures/
relish recipes, songs our uncles sang,
steps to the old dances/
whose children are relentlessly photographed
and ride the years from sharp to fading
in masks of cellophane.
We are the bearers of background memories/
his last words, her first song,
Thanksgiving before the war/
whose grandchildren will grow
to remember us
and theirs, them.
* * * * *
"And Theirs, Them" first appeared in the author's collection The First Apples.
Judith Offer has had two daughters, five books of poetry and dozens of plays. (Eighteen of the latter, including six musicals, have been produced.) She has read her poetry at scores of poetry venues, but is particularly delighted to have been included in the Library of Congress series and on “All Things Considered,” on NPR. Her writing reflects her childhood in a large Catholic family—with some Jewish roots—her experience as teacher, community organizer, musician, historian, gardener, and all-purpose volunteer, and her special fascination with her roles of wife and mother. Her most recent book of poetry, called DOUBLE CROSSING, is poems about Oakland, California, where she lives with her husband, Stuart.