by Marge Piercy

Some pass through the world
knocking over houses and people
who get in the way.

Some pass through leaving mansions
and trust funds, sons who’ll party
it away in bad headlines.

Some pass through leaving laws
they fought for, unions they risked
their lives to build, slaves freed.

Some like my mother leave only me,
one necklace and gifts I gave her
that she never wore.


Marge Piercy is the author of eighteen books of poetry.  Her most
recent collection,
The Hunger Moon: New & Selected Poems, 1980-
, was released by Knopf.  Made in Detroit is forthcoming in
March 2015.  Piercy has also published seventeen novels, her memoir
Sleeping with Cats (Harper Perennial), and a collection of short stories,
The Cost of Lunch, Etc. (PM Press).  More information is available
her website.

On “Inheritance”:
Although my mother died many years ago, I have never stopped
missing her and contemplating her difficult and painful life.  I feel
some of my feminist activism comes from understanding her and
wishing she had enjoyed an easier and pleasanter time of it and
wishing fewer women worldwide were starved of appreciation
and opportunity as she was.  

I don’t know how many poems I’ve written to/about my mother
over the years, but probably enough to stuff a fairly fat collection.  
We all carry our mothers with us, not less after they die but
perhaps even more intensely then when the story of their lives
stands complete in its meaning and resonance.     

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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary

ISSN 1931-3888

Volume 9, Number 2
(Fall 2014)

Copyright © 2014
by Leah Browning, Editor.  

All future rights to material
published in the
Valley Review
are retained
by the individual authors
and artists.