The Art of Remembering Your History

The Art of Remembering Your History

by Christian Ward

I do the same ritual every morning

while the clouds wrap their blanket

around the sun. Practice Italian

and Spanish. Trace my fingers

along paths of cheekbones inherited

from my mother and all the mothers

before her. Gaze into the bathroom

mirror to make sure my chestnut eyes,

a hand-me-down from my mother

borrowed from autumn, are still

in good health. Sometimes I'll bake

a focaccia and remember how its dimpled

surface contains the history of my

grandfather. The salt on my lips

after tasting it is a lesson in understanding

how you're just borrowing bones

for the next generation. Every room

I've lived in will be left a part of me.

Perhaps, after I'm gone, my son

will assemble this map I've made

to show the direction our souls go

after we've parted.


Featured in our July 2021 issue, "Heritage"