"Queens" by Daisy Bassen
A Korean-American church bought my grandmother’s house
For their pastor, the narrow dining room we occupied
With breakfronts, all of us crowding in for the seder,
The dark brown kitchen like the inside of a cup of tea
Where she’d braised lung for my grandfather.
She was a terrible cook. I didn’t care. I ate the hard candy
From the Lazy Susan, spinning and spinning like a carousel.
I wonder what the pastor did with the doctor’s office
My grandfather left, the exam table green as sealing wax,
The shades drawn so long they’d cracked in place.
A gut-job. I imagine he might have kept it
A place to meet parishioners, worried women
In cardigans, lace-up shoes, their eyes matching
The shadows in all the corners. I didn’t know her well,
Not enough to guess whether she would have used a slur
To refer to the new owners; I knew the yard was edged
With lilacs, white and purple, very fragrant. I knew
She was the one who planted them, who let me hide in their wall.
Daisy Bassen is a practicing psychiatrist and poet. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in English. She has been published in Oberon, The Sow's Ear, AMWA Literary Review, The Opiate, SUSAN|The Journal, Arcturus, and Adelaide Literary Review and has pending publications at Delmarva Review, Minetta Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Pirene’s Fountain and The Cape Rock. She was a semi-finalist in the 2016 Vassar Miller Prize in Poetry. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband and children.
Photo Credit: Lexi Clarke