chidhoodimageStanton
Legacy
by Betty Stanton

It was my great-grandmother’s name, though I never knew
her, and also one of her daughters’ who was not my grandmother.

The name of old ladies, of land runs and covered wagons and
Oklahoma statehood. In the high school ocean of popular names

I stood out, an antique reminder. I hated it. Then my grandmother
died and at her wake we gathered the family to talk about memories.

Friday night board games and a bulging family Bible and holiday tables
sinking under the weight of her meals. She never let anyone stay           hungry,

someone said, and for the first time I heard, She took that from her
mother. Took it from a frontier wife heading west with six babies

at the turn of the century, the youngest wandering away from camp and
being run over by a motorcycle gang. Last thing she’d said was she was

hungry, and Betty couldn’t feed her. I had never really understood
the consequences of being a namesake, the responsibilities passed      from my

great-grandmother, to my great-aunt, to me. Taken from a frontier wife,
She would never let anyone stay hungry. Would never let anyone stay.

PHOTOGRAPH: The poet on the family farm in Oklahoma, where no one ever went hungry (1981).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betty Stanton is a poet and fiction writer from Tulsa, Oklahoma. She is currently a candidate for an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Texas at El Paso. Her work has appeared in Outside the Lines, Limbo, and Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry.