I look at my mom and see the imprint of my
grandmother tattooed on her brain. I hear

them speak to me in concert, the
same voice I use to rabble rouse. I reject

what parts of them do not fit my body, it being
just as lanky, knobby-kneed, flat-chested

in each generation. I don’t want
sometimes to be so regal, hold my head so high,

be so graceful, be so in control
of what we are. I reject this, try too hard

sometimes to be my father, a man of
the people, a grain of salty earth, clinging

to his name, though people know me
best by the one I share with my grandmother.

Looking in the mirror, I realize that I too
am tattooed, regal, and there is indeed a shred

of grace, lace and ribbons that I’ll never
quite be able to leave behind.

My mother sent me a Mother’s Day card,
it’s the sort of thing she does, and it said,

“I smile because you are my daughter. I laugh
because there is nothing you can do about it.”


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