For this family no precious objects,
collections to be loaned to museums
or passed down as heirlooms.
Scarce enough money sometimes
to put food on the scrubbed table
or buy corduroys for the boys
to cover their bare bums.
Yet on the surprising tide
some treasure is brought to shore.
What strange waves brought to me
this package of tattered letters?
Paper is worn to silk, envelopes torn
by eager fingers when they first arrived
bringing news from home.
Some are written on paper ripped
from schoolbooks, or on the backs
of things no longer needed,
no notepaper to speak of in the house.