Lisa Toboz


I collect to remember the past. The altar came from a junk shop in Braddock, the Orthodox icon from an estate sale. A ’70s dress and uncombed hair. Blue-robed virgin from Pennsylvania Dutch country. One saint found in a garden, another in one of my mother’s coat pockets. My great-grandmother and father Dell’Aquila from Puglia. I piece together shards of personal history, through photos, through yellowed scraps of paper that my mother stashed in boxes. I keep having dreams where she is alive. She weaves stories from her place at the kitchen table and when I wake up, it’s as if she visited me in real life. And then there are dreams where she isn’t in them at all, but I feel lost, something amiss, like catching the glimpse of someone leaving a room before she closes the door behind her.

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