Tribute to my grandmother

my immaculate

The culmination of years in that work-wrought smile,
The glass of history veiling knowing eyes,
A skin so thin that blood bleeds and seeps through,
Teeth broken by gnawing upon chains of oppression,

Loving so much, to give meaning to an unknown life,
Nurturing descendents with food and money you had not,
Walking upon meager foundations, never knowing enough to run,
Conceptualizing the sea but not the right to swim,

And to read as but a luxury, beyond the means of others to think you worthy,
Existing amongst the dust from which life first came,
Unloved, and unrequited in all senses,
And yet a Queen amongst women;

Never with a room of one’s own to find solitude,
But left in the solitude of uncaring supervision;
Being loved in the darkness and in the flesh
Denied in the morning’s first light to work and be thankful

For a life you could not choose and a reputation for which you cared not;
And the years or the plot or the blood thinning to reveal a simple mystery:
That you are not an automaton! An Offred! Instead—rich with fertility,
Blessed with jewels of experience that sprang from you like water from life’s well.

 

Originally posted in Online Exhibit for Imagining Ourselves.

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