For Mae

For Mae

Only daughter
Of an only daughter
Of the first dead daughter
Of the clan
Mother of an only daughter
One who carries
The beautiful face of
Her great grandmother
One with almost no family
Her mother
A grandmother-less child
Raised by a motherless child

I left what family I had
To find out who I am
I go “home” now and then
To learn where I came from
To see how far I have come
And why the hell I left.

Perhaps only an accident
Of birth
Ah, yes, I’m an accident
The first grandchild
From the eldest cousin
Who had no siblings until after
Her mother died
A fractured family
That does not know
The ties that are not bonds

Like the prodigal
I sought my fortune
With no prodding to reach up
To college, only a threat
That I would finish high school
As my grandparents, my father and my brother
Had not.

I can speak to my mother now
Without crying
Yet she does not hear what I am saying
And her words to me are like
Urban scrawls
Until she speaks of
The ghost of her mother
The one whose face
We share

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