Amy Watkins

Museum of Personal History

On the first floor: all the things you expect.
Certificates of birth, baptism, marriage. 
My high school diploma. Photos of my grandparents,
smiling like my siblings in black and white.

On the second floor: heirlooms. 
A green baby blanket my grandmother crocheted. 
White cheeked porcelain dolls, stiff
as playing cards. Objects left behind
or never passed down. Lace doilies. 
A bone china teacup. A gown, not quite white, 
worn by three generations, but not by me. 

On the third floor: excavations, objects lifted
from graves. My grandfather's glasses. The bones
of my big red horse. The wig they knit into my
sister's hair in a coffin like a wedding cake.
If you could visit this collection—peer at the bones,
the trinkets, the satin fading from white to something
deeper—you would move at your own pace, decline
the guided tour. You are a true historian. 
You look for the items uncatalogued. 
The basement is full of them: grocery lists, 
library books, the boarding pass for the first flight
that took me anywhere but here. Trust these. 
Memory is precise, but almost always wrong.

Amy Watkins lives with her husband and daughter in Orlando, Florida, where she write, teaches, and makes elaborate collages out of old comic books. She is the author of the chapbook Milk & Water (Yellow Flag Press) and the art editor for Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine.