Letters to my Grandmother by Annette Volfing

You slept in curlers. I would run my fingers
over the grooves in your scalp -- just as I liked
to rub your toes, moulded by silly shoes.

Now, at the barbers, I ask for a number four.
Maybe that’s why, in my dreams,
when you come back like Lazarus,

there’s always something wrong -- as though it’s me
who’s gone past recognition, leaving you
unsure of what to say before you fade.

But let me reassure you that the things
you feared for me did not pan out: I haven’t been
held back by wanting children, or bad men.

No factory work for me. I’ve never washed
landings and stairs in blocks on sterbro.
I know these very words should make

no sense to you, yet like to think
where you are now, English is possible --
and time to read, and sit.

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