An Online Literature and Art Journal

American History: Roy

A wallet, a deputy sheriff’s badge — it’s a fake
my brother says, his tone admonitory.
The things our uncle left were Mother’s keepsakes:

expired pilot’s license, the white padded book
from his funeral with a copy of his obituary,
his wallet, deputy sheriff’s badge (a fake

my brother says). We found, neatly packed
and tied up in a shirt box labeled “Roy,”
the things our uncle left here, Mother’s keepsakes:

news photos of a grinning quarterback,
his dead hero son in high school glory,
his wallet, deputy sheriff’s badge (a fake).

Those clippings of his son, what is it makes
them my affair? They’re really pretty sorry,
the things our uncle left us, Mother’s keepsakes,

but we’re the last ones left who knew his face,
and that obliges us to keep his story,
his wallet, deputy sheriff’s badge, that fake.
It’s what our uncle left us: Mother’s keepsakes.


Sherry Chandler, author of The Woodcarver’s Wife and Weaving a New Eden, writes poetry on 57 untidy acres in Kentucky, where she lives with her woodcarver husband and assorted wildlife. Her work has appeared in many periodicals and anthologies, including The Cortland Review, Still:The Journal, and the William and Mary Review.