If you drive as far South as you can go in Florida,
you’ll come to a place where the water meets the land.
In that place, you will be closer to Cuba
than the nearest Wal-Mart. As the locals will proudly point out.
Wil’s grandfather came from Cuba,
was 2 grades under Fidel Castro in school,
took to the seas with the Merchant Marines when he was a young man,
and eventually washed up on the shores of America.
But before he left, there was already rebellion,
gatherings and protests on the college campus,
a growing unrest in the air.
My Grandfather was born in the Ukraine.
His parents were farmers.
He met my grandmother after escaping from a Nazi work camp.
She was beautiful, with a deep and mysterious scar from bomb shrapnel on her leg,
that fascinated me as a child.
My great grandmother lost a child, my grandmother’s littlest brother.
a boy, about the same age my boy is now.
He was cute, we have a grainy black and white,
showing his round cheeks, her mother’s love.
They didn’t have much food, times were hard,
he became sick, and died.
It stunned me, this fact about my great grandmother, when I found out.
Already old when I knew her,
she spoke Russian and French,
rode the bus to visit us, and brought us olives.
She was loving. She was spirited, she was alive!
How? How did she live through the loss of that smiling boy?
Go on to immigrate to Canada,
raise my grandmother,
raise my mother,
What strange lives the Old Ones have lived,
what secrets they hold in their hearts,
carry in their long memories.
What toughness they have,
strengths I cannot know,
have not yet earned,
in my short life.
Blessings to the ancestors,
I welcome your guidance,
pray for it in dreams.
I am listening.
Thank YOU for listening,