Walnut with turned legs
That unfold in a triptych
For dining or card play.
Carried in an ox-cart from Minnesota
To a Dakota homestead.
Grasshoppers destroyed the crop
So they came back. Your mother,
The youngest child who cared for the old ones
Inherited it with much else of little value.
She gave it to us for our first home.
I banged out poems on an old Royal
Balanced on its rickety frame.
Years later, our eldest daughter
Set it up in a brownstone by the
Parlor stove where she froze all winter.
Hauled to California. A little house in the
Foothills. What happened next? I guess
It must have been left in some cross-country
Diaspora. Salvaged or chopped for firewood
Or still standing tremulously in a student rental
Overlooking an avenue of shops and bars
Where someone waking after midnight
Finds paper and pen and sits down
To scrawl a poem in longhand.