For months after he died, my girls
would still find coins under
their grandfather’s old recliner.
At first the coins had been an accident,
freeing themselves from his
pockets in the early dark of evening.
Later he planted them purposely,
sometimes a Mercury dime, an
Indian Head penny, the silver half dollars
nestled among the ordinary coins.
And then one month, they
just stopped, a door silently closing.
The branches of this tree break
off, the white wounded tips left behind.
The bloodline ends with us:
one son deliberately childless,
another baby lost before it became,
our two girls adopted, swingers of branches.
The deaths multiply, span the
generations, washing a family in unluckiness:
the child who died in an accident, the stories
of cousins lost to overdose, uncles dying too young.
A family stalls out as it travels down,
a leaf that stops spinning as it descends.
About the Author: Jennifer Judge is a poet and personal essayist whose work has appeared in Literary Mama, Blueline, Under the Gum Tree, The Comstock Review, and Rhino, among others. She has lived, worked, and created in northeastern Pennsylvania her entire life. She teaches creative writing and composition at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre and is the organizer of the Luzerne County Poetry in Transit program. She earned her MFA from Goddard College and lives in Dallas, PA with her husband and two daughters.