Examine the small square before you:
burnt-brown leaves, mushed grass,
tiny spheres in pyramid piles. Imagine
yourself as your mother, botany student,
kneeling in the 1960s to catalogue
what she saw. Her brown bob, cat's eye
glasses, delicate fingers pulling
everything apart. Listing each one.
To understand her, you pull apart
her family's branches. Coal miners,
railroad men, strong women, raising
bumper crops of children. As though
knowing their names can bring
her back. You obsess over
ancestral qualities: curly hair,
blue eyes, a love of nature.
You wonder how much
she knew about them. Would she
have gawked at your discovery
of your Nana's half-sister? Could she
recite the litany of Hinkles, tracing
back from your great-grandfather?
Jonathan, Daniel, Abraham, Philip,
Christian (where the trail ends
in Frankfurt). Paging
through the family Bible, you despaired
at its blank pages. Until
you noticed the crinkled documents
she'd left for you, there.
Obituaries, a confirmation certificate,
documents of family data.
Pressed between the pages like leaves.
I was inspired this week by KFP's entry about a "one-foot hike" he did for Cub Scouts.
ETA: The voting page is now up!