Relative Raffle

Kin.  Like skin with the outer layer
ripped off.  Raw and oozing. 
Not a sight for sore emotions,
all the weeping wounds
left open and unspoken.

Possessions from a sixty-two year
marriage. An inheritance lotto.
The cutting truth:  who would
want old braided rugs,
extension cords or razors.

A nasty job, slicing up someone’s
assemblage of life.  Family
skulks in: carrion-eating buzzards
ripping out garden tables,
chairs. Constructing with their loot

a hedge, feeling safe behind
barricades built dish by dish.
Unscathed by the scratch of death,
the thorny knowledge there
is no favored child.


Karen Vande Bossche is a Bellingham, Washington, poet and short story writer who teaches middle school.  Some of her more recent work can be found in Burningword, Damselfly, Silver Birch Press and Sediment.  Other poems are forthcoming in Straight Forward Poetry, Lunch Ticket, and Drunk Monkeys. Karen was born in the Midwest, raised in Southern California, and is firmly planted now in the Pacific Northwest. She believes that writing is one of the few venues to continued sanity in today's world and that she has finally (finally) begun her real work.