It was in late August,
I watched my 8-year-old girl,
her ponytail stained with summer gold.
She turned to smile as she dipped her foot in the pool,
her whole slim body into the wavery blue.
With a long exhalation, I lay back, I let the word
float across me—motherland—-I felt it
sink with the sun through my skin
down to the source,
my grandmother, my mother’s mother Aristea,
who arrived from the Old Country, a bride of 19.
We lived in the flat above her, an easy journey
down the winding stairwell to her
open kitchen door,
simmering smells of lemon
and oregano, almond and anise seed.
Gone for these eight years, she glows
like a pilot light beneath the days.
From Yaya’s Cloth (Iris Press, 2007).
Used with the author’s permission.