mything pieces

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—


my grandmother,

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.