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Lizzie’s Charm Bracelet

30×40 Mixed Media On Paper

This painting was done in collaboration with poet Susan Twiggs, poem below, for an exhibition titled:
“The Artists Muse: Wisconsin Artists – Wisconsin Poets.” This will be a traveling exhibition throughout Wisconsin. Shown at the Howard Young Art Gallery in Woodruff WI in the spring of 2014. I was the curator of this exhibition.

Lizzie’s Charm Bracelet

My grandmother had a bracelet
heavy with charms
one for each grandchild.
Whenever she moved her wrist,
the weight of her descendants,
the children of her children,
made a sweet tinkling sound.

I saw my cousins at Thanksgiving,
lining long tables at Frankenmuth,
chicken and turkey on platters,
mashed potatoes and dressing heaped in bowls.
We were surrounded by German kitsch.
I saw them again at Christmas
gobbling Grandma’s frosted cookies.

I moved away from home and so did they.
Family trips to Mississippi and Washington
ceased. We grew up and away.
Some years we come together—
summer reunions at the lake,
wakes for mom and my favorite aunts,
a 90th birthday for Uncle Jimmy, the best, the last.

Grandma Lizzie has long passed
and Mom and her sisters, Patsy, Isabel, and Jane,
brothers, Robert and Tommy as well.
My cousins remain,
each linked by a common chain.
We are family we declare—
we are the gems.

Sue Twiggs

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