Veronica Kornberg

Veronica Kornberg is a poet from Northern California. Recipient of the Morton Marcus Poetry Prize, her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Indiana Review, New Ohio Review, On the Seawall, RHINO Poetry, Salamander, Beloit Poetry Journal, Menacing Hedge, The Shore, Spillway, and Tar River Poetry. She is a Peer Reviewer for Whale Road Review.

Poem on Belonging

HEIRLOOM

Child’s chair: sole survivor among
things touched by my grandmother.
The bent ash, soaked and rounded,
gleams where a girl’s muslin dress
once rubbed. Scratches, where buttonhooked
shoes scuffed. Patina darkened to blood
mahagony, sweat silted into every divot.
The husband lost to German cavalry.
The daughter and two sons handed over
to strangers. The starting over.

How did it feel to watch my mother,
late child of a second marriage, run
her dimpled hand over the same ashwood
or tilt back on two legs and stress the frame?
To see the seat canes breached, re-woven.
Such fights, such marmalades and moths
this chair has weathered, yet it promenades
still, with a subtle bend in the foot,
plaiting light by my workroom window.

Copyright © 2018 by Veronica Kornberg. This poem originally appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Volume XX, November 1, 2018 (Fall/Winter 2018-2019). Used with permission of the author.