“Heritage” by Roger Nash

We eat food from fields we did not clear.
Piled rocks look like unopened
letters, undelivered in the dry grass.
Then we moisten and exchange bodies on a strange
bed. The carved headboard twines us
together, in an unknown, varnished hand.
Afterwards, back on the street, the clouds
are, as usual, illegible, the drains unsigned.
We do not return to places we left.
A stranger sips coffee attentively there,
though the walls can’t recall our names.
But we remember to be thankful, constantly, that everything
important began with us. The shade
we sit in so romantically automatically throws
up the side of a shed, a broken rake
rotting beside it. We are our own heritage.
As leaves burn brown in the surprising
air of spring, may we be consistent
enough to forget to hand it on.

Works Cited

  • Nash, Roger. Heritage. Canadian Literature 137 (1993): 7. Print.