mccullen (mccullen) wrote,


so you are probably not aware of this, but i have been on a pretty major poetry kick lately. mostly romanian stuff, mid-60s to contemporary, with a little chinese mixed in for dericious eastern fravor. anyway, i got to thinking that maybe i should try my hand at the whole poetry thing, so here you go. i'm not sure how i feel about it gets a little personal, but then again, what is LJ for, you know?

by McCullen

grandmother, you had so many secrets.
so many things i'll never know.
questions left unasked-
answers left unspoken

grandmother, you were a mystery.
who taught you how to make lingonberry jam?
how did you always know how to make my dresses fit just right
on this body that was always changing
always wrong
and where was it you really went when you said "Bingo night!"
as the screen door clacked shut
and what was up with all that HitlerJungend stuff
in your scrapbook

grandmother, you had strong hands.
nimble hands, sewing washcloths in the old towel factory
sturdy hands, showing the neighborhood girls how to pound schnitzel
swift hands, slapping my face after i asked
how you knew so much
about anti-aircraft artillery

grandmother, you taught me that i was beautiful.
you stood in the bread line for hours
and came home and dressed my hair for the Co-Ed Social.
you baked pies for the Schmidts' wedding all day
and somehow found the time to mend my stockings for church.
Six thirteen-hour shifts a week at the towel factory
and you still managed, as i began my homework (at sunset)
to scrub my hands with pumice and turpentine
the day that they integrated the school districts.

grandmother, you had so many secrets
so many things i'll never know.
yet this i know: somewhere, in some place
you are watching me- you are
with me.
in this place my secrets join with yours
and in that moment- in that
you realize that in college i dated a guy named Ari
and it was kind of serious
i know his parents liked me
and i also know
that if you could be here
with me
you would probably smash a jar
of lingonberry jam.

probably on my skull.
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