My people lived behind Ellis Island lowtide mudflats. City spires rise east through cattails
waving seed grass.
Poland’s dust still under her nails. Childbearing scrubbing halls
nourished on crumbs remaining after her children fed.
Husband robust, square as Khrushchev stale beer garden smell sawdust like broken dreams
covers piss-stained floors.
My mother searches the forest of saloon legs pulls him home.
Three maiden aunts gather behind curtains crocheted around open windows.
stories at the kitchen table...
My grandmother’s hair loosed from the knot at her neck.
Hollow eyes pinpoint sorrow.
I crawled the quilt path of her sickbed, beckoned by her toothless smile,
gray bun low, haloing magic wrinkled face.
Alone I carry her memory.