Today's Napo is about my grandmother. I inherited a lot from her -- my name, my chubby feet, my stubbornness. Probably most marked, at least recently, has been my spinal condition, though. My mom and my grandma never got along, so I never really got to know her very well before she passed away.
So this poem is a little bit about that. I'd like to write more about my grandma Grace, about our relationship that really isn't one, and yet, how she shapes the way I move in this world still.
Today's prompt was to write a poem about things I know for certain. When it comes to my grandma, that list is pretty short, but hmm...
Things I Know About Her
I know you had to be beautiful once,
We all were in a moment in time
When the sun danced on the tip
Of your nose, when your skin
Smelled of raspberries, your hair
Like gardenias, when you wore spring
Across your shoulders like a shawl.
I know your life must have been marked
With beauty, five daughters, each one
A heavy blessing you had to carry yourself.
I know you gave my mother
Her narrow, piercing eyes, her mouth
That became stone, her grimace.
I know you gave me your name
And I carry it on my back, a cruel
Joke, Grace, as I stumble through life.
I don’t know if you were good,
Or evil, I don’t know if simply
Did the best you could, or perhaps
You could have given more
of yourself, your tired, heavy body.
I know that you gave me your spine –
each crick, each twist, each crack,
My mom said you’d be delighted
That I’ve stumbled into your footsteps,
Fallen into the same crevice of pain,
A cycle of pills, stiff muscles, days wasted
In the hospital, only to claw my way back
into the sunlight. There’s so much I don’t know,
And if you were still here, I would ask
How you got through it all, rose
From your bed each morning,
hoisting the huge weight of earth
Onto your twisted, tired spine.