Little Candlestick

Little Candlestick

(For My Mother)

In scarcity, what bliss, brought
by the voice that commanded it,

unmothering mother, brave to give
lessons instead of love: this little

silver candlestick, bent, bruised, all
that’s left of the modest, old,

possibly French desk set: paper
knife, blotter edges, chased

with a few deep lines. I couldn’t
believe my great good fortune,

coming into possession of what
I’d never dared imagine:

ornaments, for my schoolgirl words.

Years pass, her voice is stilled,
her great-granddaughters know,

only, love. Still I hoard the
bliss of scarcity, its strange


Sallie Bingham is a writer, teacher, feminist activist, and philanthropist.

She is best known for her family memoir, Passion and Prejudice published by Knopf in 1989. Her most recent work is titled The Blue Box: Three Lives In Letters, published by Sarabande Books in 2014.

Her forthcoming book, tentatively titled Doris Duke: The Invention of the New Woman will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, most likely in 2016. More on the book and Doris Duke can be found in Sallie's blog.

Sallie's complete biography is available here.


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