My grandmother, Ruth, on my father’s side, died before I was born. I never knew her. I’m told she lived in Los Angeles for some time; perhaps that is why I feel so at home here. When I arrived here so many years ago, I felt like I was coming home.
My grandmother, Mary, aka Amelia, passed less than a year ago. A week after she passed, I received the notification from Pilcrow & Dagger they were publishing the poem I’d written years before, inspired by her visit to L.A. My grandmother used to write poetry – she left me her book of poems; it is a treasure!
My mother lives in Ohio. She made the best cookies – still does! Mom – send me some! J
Then there’s me – Not to be cliché, but my life started when I had my daughters. It’s when I got serious about life, when I formed real ideas about priorities, when I started thinking of people other than myself.
My girls and myself
It’s Christmas day.
She wants to see where she thinks
Marilyn’s body lies.
She doesn’t understand the tomb in a wall,
a name on a plaque.
She wants to touch the same dirt
Marilyn’s body touches.
I show her Jack Lemmon’s
She wants to see the thirteen year old
Another plaque on the wall.
Grandma is flustered,
she doesn’t want to be encased in eye-level marble,
an uncertain burial, she wants to rot
in the dirt, she says,
the natural way.
It’s Christmas day and my daughters
want to know why we’re at a graveyard.
My little one is writing down names
an attempt to, once again, give the long dead
The older one won’t come close
She uneases herself along the edges of
the grass, the crypts,
the fresh dirt.
Unwilling to let the dead touch.
She’s taken an impromptu dislike to grandma
who is weeping.
It’s Christmas day and she expected
the movie stars to rot in the dirt,
like she will, she says,
but even in death, they are distinct.