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(Two grandparents)

His handless watch, kept dead for decades

in its violet sleeve, now seems to tick again.

My yellow Mid-Atlantic dust becomes

the grime of their horsed streets:

choked lanes of Vitebsk, Mariampol.

He was a pearl-gray spats, shined boots, straw

boater guy, knife-pressed, immaculate in the

surviving photograph, his hat cocked slantwise

on one pinstriped knee. Herself: a tiny force compressed,

stubborn as spring steel, widowed

by forty, who raised two kids alone and

turned down queued-up suitors, for past love.

I’m not their image; not the slightest

lineament’s fall. Yet now that fine first

dust floats down -- past Hamburg’s hulls, past

Henry Street where later it’s a park.

A fleeting stereopticon:

the tailor’s son; the dark-haired girl

white-pinafored at school -- limned

in the grit of the Pale. Ageing, we shrink

but grow again towards roots. The patterns call.

Their buried family traits emerge –

the sweet, the gall.

Poetica Magazine, Summer 2015

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