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LuRay Love
Jan Chronister


They sit behind cupboard doors
pastel shades of pink, blue, yellow, green
     glowing in the dark.

They were my mother's wedding china
    each piece stamped with
its manufacture date: 1939, 1942,
    every holiday meal reflected on those blushing plates.

In '46 my sister was born
     blonde curls, bright eyes
hands getting what they wanted.

I arrived three years later
     middle child, second girl
followed by the blessed boy.

Always the black sheep
     sneaking cigarettes
     climbing out windows
     never filling parents' wishes.

But I am the one with the dishes.

From Caught Between Coasts: Collected Poems 1989-2018 (Clover Valley Press, 2018).
Used with permission.

Jan Chronister, now retired from teaching writing, is the author of three full-length poetry collections and nine chapbooks; the latest are The Book of Eunice, about her mother, and Land of Cotton, Land of Snow, the fourth in her annual series of "year in review" chapbooks. Gardening keeps Jan "grounded", as she puts it, and often provides inspiration for her poems. Jan and her husband of 50+ years divide their time between far north Wisconsin and South Georgia.


Post New Comment:
I really like your poem. Thank you for sharing so much. 🤍
Posted 04/12/2021 05:17 PM
Lori Levy:
Great poem, especially the way it leads up to this ending.
Posted 04/10/2021 03:57 PM
Janet Leahy:
This poem comes with so many memories, behind my cupboard doors are the family wine glasses, and I love them. Thanks Jan, so good to read your poem. I did not know there was a world sibling day, my only sister died three weeks ago, it feels lonely without her,
Posted 04/10/2021 01:37 PM
Like a world-class gymnast, Jan nailed her dismount.
Posted 04/10/2021 11:57 AM
So perfect for me! I have a sister born in '46 but neither of us was the black sheep! And, neither of us wants the dishes! :-) But loved the poem and was happy to share it with my sisters on World Sibling Day
Posted 04/10/2021 11:47 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love this nostalgia poem and I can totally relate to how precious the family heirlooms can be and to the message that you don't have to be a favorite child to inherit the family china and along with it the memories.
Posted 04/10/2021 10:21 AM
This is MY poem, except I'm the one with the 'pinto pot'!!! I love this poem!!
Posted 04/10/2021 09:34 AM
No one wants our Aztec Frankoma.
Posted 04/10/2021 09:12 AM
Made me smile.
Posted 04/10/2021 08:32 AM
Larry Schug:
I have to confess I've always found the order of dishes in cupboards fascinating,so I really like the first verse. The ending is great and what's in between is the story of a life.
Posted 04/10/2021 06:49 AM

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