Early

by Athena

I have no memory of my grandmother
My fatherís mother
My grandmother
She died when I was four
Before I can remember her
Iíve been told her face is reflected in mine
So I search mirrors to catch a glimpse of her
I have a picture
One of many that is my favorite
Peeking through her fingers
Thin like mine
Brown and angled in odd ways 
I try to look between her fingers
to see if she is hiding a smile behind them
A smile dotted with dimples like mine

I have no memory of my grandfather
My fatherís father
He died before or after my grandmother
I donít remember
I canít remember him
I was 21 when I first saw his picture 
And I criedÖ
Not happy/not sad
Just tears at a face that 
looked exactly like my father and uncles

I have been to their graves once
My grandfather sectioned off 
because of his service to his country
My grandmother is not buried with him
I could not find her grave
It is unmarked in an expanse of grass
Only a number and letter in office record books
I want to buy her a headstone one day

My grandmother
My motherís mother 
Still breathes the air she thanks God for everyday
She is so strong/so sure/so faithful
So strong that I worry about her
It is the death of the strong that always surprises you

My grandfather
My motherís father
Will not retire
He drives trucks from one end of the country to the other
Our family joke is that my grandmother 
never knows where her husband is
My grandfather
My motherís father
Looks frail

My great grandmother
My motherís fatherís mother
Collects things
I collect things just like her
She canít remember much
She loves us, but canít remember us
She loves us, but canít remember us
But I remember her
That she always carries a purse that seems to be as big as she is
How her cheeks are always rouged and her hair always done
That we all take care of her
How we bring her candy at holidays 
because she always loves something sweet
That she is approaching nearly one hundred years old 
and still speaks her mind as if we were close in age
I gave her flowers once
Pale purple lilacs that she loved until 
she forgot what was in her hand and threw them away
I know she loves me, 
but I have to tell her my name over and over again
She loves us, but canít remember us

My family
My motherís family
My fatherís family
Is filled with people/stories/faces that blend into mine
Alcoholics that proclaim me their favorite niece
Twin uncles that call me Sweet T 
That make sure my car is running well
Cousins that call me college girl 
with hints of both jealousy and pride in their voices
Aunts who use me as examples for their daughters
And those I no longer speak to because weíve grown apart

I donít remember my grandparents
My fatherís parents
I cherish my grandparents 
My motherís parents
My great grandmother
My motherís fatherís mother
I want to evolve into her
To feel the gray intertwine with my life
Always remembering my legacy 


Early by Athena

© Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.



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