I never knew

my grandma much,

for I was young and

she died before

I could say

that she was

strong and weak

and sad and talented too.


I caught her sadness

when I was five,

and it has stayed

with me for life,

but I also caught

her inspiration

for she survived in

the faces of hate

and she cooked the most

delicious cakes.


I smile when I think of that.


I never heard her play

the piano, even though

she was a prodigy

from an early age;

she could not play

when the nails held

the piano down,

and only in her mind

did she play,

among the madness

and the prayers.


And on the top

of the piano,

faded in black and white,

there was a picture of her

as a woman with

young intense eyes

that beamed with hope,

matched with the

slightest hint of

a beautiful smile, like mine.


She was young then

and so had the dreams

of a woman without this man,

without the terror of

a hand that took her life away.


Not in one final act,

no, not that,

but in the steady flow

of cruelty’s guile

that wore her down

and sent her mad.


I keep a copy of my grandma

as a young dreamer,

for in the image that

lives in me she goes on:

She is how she was meant to be.