Three horse brasses, bought
in England in 1930,
hang from the mantel;
a Japanese print hangs above,
gift of a house guest in 1965.

Only the fire below is mine
—I bought the wood—
the rest, inheritance, gift
acquired through marriage,
shapes me: the family stories,

skewed expressions, imprint,
influence of Indiana, Baltimore,
places I’ve never lived;
all that was in the air
breathed into my lungs.

Attention, fed by affection,
has molded me like silt
in a languid river, slowed
from the spring flood
that swept me into this family.