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Poet's Corner

Of Value


The skull is packed in my attic.

Perhaps I should warn my daughter,

assuming she will be the one to sort my life once it’s done.

It doesn’t smell anymore. It took a soaking in bleach and

days of airing in the sun, not so much because of the skull itself

but its tough cartilage — protruding.

No one else I know has one.

It may not even be legal, so, too, I should advise her

not to claim it as part of the estate.

Twice I’ve begun to list my art collection and its provenance.

I become distracted somewhere between paintings and

sculptured Papashvily stones.

Books are beyond me. Suffice it to say she should check

for first editions, autographed volumes of poetry.

Don’t lose Woody Guthrie’s Vol. 1, mimeo union song sheets.

The value of the antler collection may be negligible. But this

dolphin skull and its links of winged vertebrae,

holding on to things like that, my daughter, can save you.

Patricia Goodrich is a writer and visual artist. Her 10 poetry collections include Woman With a Wandering Eye, Verda’s House, Red Mud and Stone Hunting in Transylvania. Her poems have been translated into Chinese, Finnish, French, Lithuanian, Romanian, and Slovenian. She is 2005 Bucks County Poet Laureate. She lives in Springfield Township. For more, visit

Poet’s Corner is curated by Bucks County Poet Laureate Emeritus Tom Mallouk and supported by a grant to the Bucks County Herald Foundation made possible by Marv and Dee Ann Woodall.

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