November* by Nancy Schatz Alton

What will I miss when I’m gone?

The smell of my Grandma Becker’s house, her front steps.

The run over to Grandma Schatz’s porch, her kitchen with the

square of wood I stood on and moved by moving my hips, the ceiling

decorated with homemade noodles, her over-sweetening my cereal bowl with sugar.


What will I miss when I’m gone?

The way my parents look at me, unable to love me any less.

Bright gold high-school sweatshirt bought by them, worn by me

and my eldest daughter, our line of noses marching through time which

feels linear and is carried by sugar-cinnamon toast made for those we love.


What will I miss when I’m gone?

How I learned to love early morning silence

to greet the day with intention and feeding myself with words.

Oh, the words spilling out over every part of me until they reach

around me like a cloud of sound that soothes the achiest day through definition.


What will I miss when I’m gone?

Too much to say but the list always starts with color

the way it saturates my eyeballs and clothes the ones I love best:

the brown against the red, the orange near the freckles, the green

on the long limbs of my husband whose happiness cannot be contained.


What will I miss when I’m gone?

Bright gold, brown eyes, slant of nose,

cascade of words, red-orange-blue-green

spray of freckles, a smile starting slowing

the corner of her mouth unable to stop, this joy: everything.


*What will I miss when I’m gone is a line from the poem “Here and There” by Emily Grosholz

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