Cedar Chests


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*In my family, the women have cedar chests, given to them by the family when they get married. It’s an old tradition, but as long as there are women who make baby blankets, we will have cedar chests to store them in. It’s always an honor as a tween to go through the chest with the matriarchs.”


A green chest inside me 

Holds my heart 

A cedar chest outside me 

Holds my stuff

They look quite alike 

When you think about things 

Cedar and skin and bone 

For protection and scent 

Books and memories 

For lost lovers 

And paths not taken

Dishes and blood

For practical life 

Sheets and tissue 

For a bed without strife 

Shoes and valves 

For protection and order 

Scarves and hugs 

From the people I love 

All treasure within 

All treasure without 

Kept in a chest

Rarely let out 

When the chest gets open 

And things are shared 

Between mother and daughter 

It can cause anxiety 

Things can be broken 

Things can be learned 

Treasures are meant to be shared 

When the time is right 

Yes dear, I know of rape 

Yes dear, I know of sorrow

But look, these little shoes protected 

Your baby feet 

Yes dear, I know of passion

Yes dear, I know of work 

But look, your great grandmother made this quilt

To keep you warm 

Yes dear, I know of eating disorders

Yes dear, I’ll teach you to cook

But look, these dishes are lovely 

For displaying your dinner

The things that women pass on

To make house into home 

Are all stored in a chest 




Just like their daughters

Just like their mothers

One response to “Cedar Chests”

  1. Christi Cuthbert-Walters Avatar
    Christi Cuthbert-Walters

    I love this poem very much. Truly special.


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