My grandmother’s house was painted a dark, graying eggshell blue
and was very near the southern border of the Catskill Mountains.
After the death of my grandfather she sold the house, the barn, the many
acres of field and forest. No one was surprised.
Death contaminates the heavy rivers of our bodies
and we must move on.
Bound as we are, even as a hidden culture,
her family has spread out from that place—
a daughter in California,
a son in the Carolinas,
a son in Massachusetts,
a daughter in Wyoming
a daughter who never left
a daughter who never settled down—
like seeds on the wind,
only growing shallow roots in acidic soils.
My mother, head of black curls,
once told me that we are like the rhododendron,
which blooms large, bright, and heavy in the woods,
belonging to the far place…
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