Tag Archive: family


Though they cover my eyes with the fold,
spin me around, and drop me where
up is down and here is there, 
I still find my way 
back home

Michael 2022

Dear Galicia, Dear Bloodlands

I remember one day, when I was smaller than now, 
my grandmother received a large envelope,
ribboned with foreign stamps, par avion

She weeps when she opens it and looks inside

I ask
Grandma, why are you crying?

In her broken English she says
From Bachory, Ukraine, моя сестра

She hands me the photo,
a young woman, holding a child
in front of large thicket aside a thatched house

On the back, in cursive Cyrillic, it reads
Noisy are the rustling groves
Glance sister at this photo...
Memories are there

It is signed
With Love
Kateryna, 26, Ivan, 2 (1910)

cc: Chagall 2022

Grandpa would flash a spray of cool water
each morning on the panting gray cement
stones about the yard, colors and hues
of the earth’s minerals flushed deep
brought to life in small puddles
accumulated there near the clover tufts
holding tight in the cracks, the crevices
abutting the frame, the scene at large,
we pan higher than we did that day,
all of our life there in neat little
bunches of boxes in boxes where people we love
carry on, carry out their days, turning on and in
and out and back, to a different way as hope goes,
newly baptized, in deep commune, confirmed, wed to all,
in repose amid the somber hymns of concluding rites,
beneath grandpa’s spray, a flash of silver liquid,
an old man’s giggling face lost in the brilliant sun
of a promise forever solvent.

© Chagall ∞


I was your sister, you were older, I listened,
I thought you knew things I might need to know
even though you often said so very little, and
in the end I want you to know I will miss you,
I am younger, oddly no wiser, I regret you not
having known me better, as I you.

© Chagall ∞

Dearest Eve

Near a century ago, cousins
from the old country had written
to her, my grandmother, to tell her of
new life, love, old life, and death,
she’d missed, the chronology of
the beautifully handwritten cursive
on paper unlike any I’ve ever seen
in size and touch, with a scent of
many years contained there in the folds and
the unfolding of many reads, here and there
a letter blurred, the errant pen of
the author or a teardrop.

© Chagall 2016


Where do all
the tumbleweeds go
after they’ve blown away?

Where do all
the scorpions hide
during the rain storm?

Watch me now,
James Brown said,
watch me as I bust a move.

even back then
out there in the desert.

© Chagall 2016

Table 12

Yes – perfect – place her there,
far from the maddening roar of
the love these two share.

© Chagall 2016

The Interim

The lights are going out,
not forever – just for now.

We have coffee and tea,
we can make bread if need be,
sing, play cards …

Only for a little while,
only just for now.

© Chagall 2016


The poems I write are like
the dollar bets my grandmother made
everyday needing something
to ride on

Chagall 2016


From My Grandmother’s Window

I fear we’re becoming
people who have no concern
for those who succeed us

Instead we live for the moment
without an obligating sense
to make Gaia inheritable

Similarly there are those
who have no reverence
for those who precede us

Family, tradition, culture and mores
reduce to biology resembling nothing
more than a gene pool

May they drown in the shallow end

Chagall 2016

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