By Danielle Colin

Did the blue walls miss your touch
Grandmother, when you came to visit
or was it you who missed this little house
crouched on the floor with a rag,
your ghost as old as the doors
lined with peeling paint

I went to your grave
watched my weeping mother
kneeling down in the soil
the only thing connecting three generations
this land you returned to never returning
lies underneath us all
I wonder if the chickens cluck your song
I wonder how you knew
we would sleep in that small room
you used to call your own
on a bed knotted with lumps
where you slept years ago

I wish I had been awakened
by your steady hand
the sound of your body bent and scrubbing
like the sound of my mother’s body
bent and scrubbing

Was your favorite color blue like the walls?
I had hoped my eyes could catch
a glimpse of your ghost
the way my mother saw you
drawing circles on the walls
with your worn rag and tired hands

hands I have no memory of
rubbing your daughter’s pregant belly
your soothing voice saying
mwen pap we sak andan

I wonder about the seventh day of March
Was it as long as the seven
years of a barren womb
when they buried you
the day I was born?
I wonder how you knew
destiny would have us meet
between life and death
to celebrate and mourn

If there were a moment
when our two worlds could meet
just so we could speak
If there were an instance
when we could hear each other’s voices
I wonder what we would say

I wonder if you would tell me
how it was to birth twelve children
and only have four of them live long
If the emotion of loss weighed on you
so much that you knew
the importance of my survival
that maybe because you had lost so many
you knew what it was
for my mother to lose one
and wait seven years to be
pregnant with a dream

I wonder what words you shared
what prayers you prayed
with me in your mind
I wonder how you knew
you would never see me…
gazingly longingly at my mother’s belly
before flying to Haiti
telling her you would not know this baby.

I never got in the habit of calling it coincidence
You being buried
The day I was born
like some spiritual exchange
I know it was something deeper
your only girl expecting her only child,
a girl
who would know you in dreams and stories
and eyelashes and the nose I see in mirrors
I would know you in the one picture
black and white
hidden in a suitcase
where I would sneak to see you
run my hand over the old frame
wishing you could talk back

I would know you on my birthday
I would know you through everyone
who says your name, Anacia
when they see how much I’ve grown
when they say
how much you would have spoiled me
and my heart feels
intently that you would have
spoiled me
with love

Though moments like that of worlds
colliding are just an aching wish
if it were to happen I would talk to you
like I’ve known you all my life
sit at your feet
ask you what God is like
let you play with my hair
listen to you laugh and share old proverbs

I would call you Grandma out loud
the way I always have in my heart
I would ask you if your favorite color is blue

Danielle Colin

Poet. Visual artist. Performer. Educator.
(203) 685-4405

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“If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.” Ellen Johnson Sirleaf