Every day, in the refurbished cafe,
I am stopped by the gold-edged photo
of the city before my birth—
the now-vanished tracks
engraved deep in that ground,
elm trees lining both sides of the road,
branches like sunlit swords tipped to honor
those passing under.
The trolley will round the corner
to carry my grandmother in her brown silk
Saturday hat, netting swooped like tiny birds
across her face. She is younger than I am,
a bride from the old country,
she holds my six-year-old motheršs hand.
My motheršs almond eyes are sheened with delight—
more and more English rises slowly through her Greek.
They will ride the nine miles downtown,
to the Riverside Theatre—
Katharine Hepburn in Little Women
on the bright marquee—
it will be my favorite story fifty or more
years from here, but for now, no one
has even dreamed of me. The picture
is that complete.
From The Perfect Day (Parallel Press).
Used with the author’s permission.