Remembering Grandmother’s House

In my memory

A stand of pine trees

Cools the back corner

Of my grandmother’s

Backyard filled with flowers

And summer light.

The brown wings of Canada geese

Flap under the silver linings 

Of cumulus clouds

Blown in from a Dutch painting.

A distant voice says

The image is from

A past I have imagined.

“Ask my mom, I protest.

She grew up here,

A witness to those trees growing

From her room on the second floor!”

The distant voice, indifferent,

Moves on.

Memories once certain as thunder in August

Become confused as awakenings

In strange places, and I question

The house, the geese, the barn door

Left open for Uncle Gus’s Tommy Lad--

The horse that knew its way

From Darien to Woodbury,

Bringing my great uncle

Home to ancestral space,

Where he would bring his family,

Raising four children and many horses.

Others in the family tell stories

Of grandmothers and their spirited horses,

Carpenters who experimented

In the new art of photography,

A tobacco farmer whose diaries 

His great-grandson would find in a barn

And typed up years later.

I tell a story, too, of maple trees,

Their roots cracking sidewalk slabs

As they claim deeper earth and vaster sky.

In my illegible scrawl, I title it

Grandmother’s House

Calmed, the dark voice whispers

Peace into the corner of my mind, and I feel

The warmth of a grandmother’s eternal love.

A grandmother’s eternal love.

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