A box of faded photographs, newspaper
Clippings of friends long lost,
Letters never sent, cards never received,
Letters never answered.
College notes from 1953 all scribbled
On paper-thin paper, brittle with age,
And a napkin. A napkin about Columbus
And his fourth trip back and his poverty stricken death.
A summer college report card of C.
I feel her emotional poverty.
I feel her restraint, her fear, her hesitation
And I know I have never known the real her
And I wonder if anyone has.
And I wonder if she has.
This woman that life has beat up;
This woman that no one really sees;
This uprooted woman who has left behind
Herself in piles of paper and forgotten keepsakes;
This woman who raised my mother
But from an uncontrolled distance,
And was alive at her funeral and present, but so far away;
This woman who is not old, just ask her;
This woman who could not put her finger
On a positive memory;
This woman is my grandmother.
I do not throw her away when I throw away her things.
I throw away her shadow and her heartbreak.
I hope that in her newfound garden
She will flourish. I hope but do not expect,
Because I know that while she is a beautiful flower,
She is forever broken inside.