I'm working on a couple poems that are meant to go side by side. I haven't done any revisions and I just wrote them today... so here they are.
I just found out that
I have a great grandma.
No, actually I had one.
I never met her, and I never will.
She died yesterday,
Or the day before.
After 92 years, she’s gone and I’ll never get her back,
Even though she never was mine to begin with.
I have to wonder,
Was her hair white?
Were her fingernails long and painted blue
To match that eyeshadow she always wore?
Did she love photography?
Do I look like her?
I like to think she was kind,
And maybe she loved me, or at least
The idea of me.
Maybe she had an old picture of me in a frame
Sitting on that ancient piano
Which all great grandmas own.
Maybe those birthday cards just got lost in the mail.
You can’t blame the mailman for dropping things in January, after all.
“She lived a good life,” they said,
But what does that even mean?
Did my father like her?
I guess I’ll never know,
But I like to think that Great-Grandma Davis
Thought about me sometimes.
There was this woman once,
She was tall and old,
But she wasn’t frail
And she wore a platinum blonde wig.
She knew how to cha-cha dance,
But not like everyone else,
And all the women in the family can do it too,
But not as well.
She never said hello. She said,
The same shrill way we all do.
She had this way about her,
Much like the other grandmothers,
But never too sweet.
If anyone said, “So,”
She would reply,
“So, so, suck your toe all the way to Mexico.
While you’re there, comb your hair
And don’t forget your underwear.”
She was always proud to be a Harju.
This old woman knew how to sew,
And she did it with class.
I still have that white dress
With the strawberries,
Even though it will never again fit me;
Even though my sister wore it first.
And when I look in that mirror
She passed on to me when I was 6,
I see Ina in me.