My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!
-- Merchant of Venice
Rumor has it I traded my mother's turquoise ring
for a monkey. Truth is I would never trade it,
the only memento I have of her. I remember her body
bent over a counter, preparing dough for matzah,
in the days before we could afford servants,
the soup of her smell warming me. Her illness
was slick, stole her with shadow hands too quick.
My father's lukewarm care for me grew cold
from counting all his coins, ducats for daughters.
All the gold could not bring her back. Poor ghost.
Would he miss me--or the money--most?
Dayna Patterson is an MFA candidate at Western Washington University. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in North American Review, REAL, and Weave, among others. She is Poetry Editor for Psaltery & Lyre, and her chapbooks, Loose Threads and Mothering, are available from Flutter Press. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two daughters.