H
O
M
E

P
O
E
T
R
Y

J
O
H
N

G
U
Z
L
O
W
S
K
I

T
H
E

S
C
R
E
A
M

O
N
L
I
N
E

 

 

My Grandparents

There are no photographs
of who they were
what they did

One was beautiful
with hair like the sun
setting in late August
but more pale

Another was slow, a third fat
with fingers so strong
they never let go

The last, a wanderer
who became lost searching
for work in Galicia

They come to me
as I sit after breakfast
in the kitchen
and I tell them
the truths I have found:

Time is a windmill
the world exhales each day
inhales each night

Friends come to us
when we are dying
or struggling with mysteries
or joyfully shedding our skin
in summer on a beach
somewhere

Don't worry, I tell them,
we are never alone

And I tell them stories,
true ones, like this:

Once in an airport
while I sat alone, writing
a poem about Primo Levi's
death in Milan

An Asian woman walked
back and forth near me
singing deep in her throat

de de tay

de de tay tay

de de tay

and she stayed by me
singing

singing

until I finished
the lines about Levi's
guilt and forgiveness
in the moment before
he threw himself down
to his death
on the stairs
in Milan

She did not see me
hearing her song
as she walked there
singing

her song
as deep in her throat
as Jesus or love
as deep in my throat
as it was in hers.

de de tay

de de tay tay

de de tay

And when I tell my grandparents
this story, they sit
in their brown suits
and dark babushkas, smiling

and nodding as if they
understood my words, as if
my English was their Polish.

 

©1999 John Guzlowski

Back to John Guzlowski main page

TOPThe ScreamOnline Home Page