on days when my mom gave me a dollar bill - for spending,
and a tissue - for blowing into (just in case), 
she'd also advise not to put them both 
into the same pocket

I once heard my grandfather posit that 
a friendly rival of his should be buried standing up,
a prayer - I guess - for eternal cramping of the calves?

my grandmother made everything germinate on her windowsill, 
even apricot stones and pineapple tops

my mom's younger brother, my Uncle,
learned to run between raindrops
while aboard ship in the Navy

he could light a Zippo in full headwind

he was on the water looking into Iwo Jima
while my Dad was face-down in its black volcanic sand

spearhead battalions
Marines atop aquatic vehicles

if not for 2 older sisters and a miscarried boy,
who would have been my older brother, but not the oldest,
I would not be here

meaning there was incentive for my parents
to give it one more try - have a boy

keep at it 
my father's father came to my mother in a dream,
he died a month before she gave birth to me, and said
You will have the boy, and Millie will have the girl

as if some prophecy were coming to bear on the world

once my Dad threw a rubber ball 
into the sky, so high

and it hung there for moments,
the most beautiful pink
against blue

cc: Chagall 2021