I Want To Know If My Great-Grandmother Wrote
I want to know if my great-grandmother wrote.
And if she wrote, did poems come out?
Or stories? — Were they laced with graceful metaphors,
ironic, nuanced, funny, or deep?
If my great-grandmother painted,
I hope she spent more time in all the reds.
I hope she used orange, purple, lavender,
I might like it to be ballet
if she danced,
but really, it wouldn't matter.
If I got to know that she moved —
with a partner or without —
that her heart melted into a smile
when she kicked up her heels
or waltzed until midnight,
I'd like to know if my great-grandmother danced.
And if she had songs inside her,
Well, I hope she sang.
And if it was the garden she craved,
I hope she lived in it.
And I wonder.
Did my great-grandmother struggle?
Did she tell the truth?
Did she leave herself open and bloody?
Who was this woman
who raised my grandmother?
Was there time for writing or dancing?
Did she only dream of landscapes the color of poppies?
Were there moments between feeding the hogs and
milking the cows and cooking dinner and canning beans
to press a wild blue iris between the pages
for no other reason than to enjoy a dried flower?
I want my great-granddaughter to know
that her great-grandmother struggled.
And that she told the truth.
And that she bled.
I want her to know her great-grandmother cared,
so, much, about the miracle of this planet,
this life, and how it is all so
impossibly fragile and strong,
so lonely and loving.
And I want my great-grandaughter to sing,
or dance, or write her life out.
Whatever it takes.
I want to tell her
it all happens so fast.
Start now, I'd say,.
You will make a difference,
though you may never know how.