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



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 Turin


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





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 Turin


She did not see me

hearing her song

as she walked there



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





     —About the poet, John Guzlowski

To Occasionally See More Pieces Like This In Your FB Newsfeed  



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