1. My Grandmother’s Hair
In the early 1940s, a brisk trade emerged between German death
camps and German felt and textile manufacturers.
If you travel to Germany
(I refuse to go there)
tell me if you slept on my grandmother’s hair.
You’d know—in the night
you would have heard the mattress rustle,
and the sigh, buried deep
in its stuffing—
dreaming of me.
2. “Chimney,” “Smoke”
By November this fir tree
once rooted by the septic field
will swim up the chimney as smoke.
Two weeks from today and
I’ll turn forty-seven, blow out a few
candles and wish
for a way to say smoke
without having to wonder
where my father buried his memories of his brothers,
chimney without having to wonder
who I would have been
if they’d survived.