In which I wonder why

a curse is believed to pass from one 
generation to another:  a grandmother 

one never even knew but for a black 
and white photograph, where she is 

the unsmiling mouth clamped over 
yellowed teeth; a grandfather who had 

a first name but no surname because he 
disappeared while a crowd gathered in church, 

and a cake teetered under the weight of sugar 
paste flowers in the rectory. When does it 

become a gift, this thing that at first 
was the most unasked-for? Take a curse 

and say: the hole made by a moth 
in a sweater may be repaired, the dust 

collected from house corners 
and thrown out of doors is only dust.  

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