With the sanction of a starsign
I decipher an infant
in a taken-for-granted heritage
barely settled Wisconsin
breaths in specter December
“It is too hard.”
The only one I can really comprehend
in the crude nursery
of my great-great-grandfather’s
the only one who didn’t live to
Less than a month
in a construction I can’t see
and the siblings
on that attic list. Huddled within
the enjambed walls.
Ice-embroidered beard and fur.
retreating. Whirling winter and the
she didn’t either
rock at the hearth to the whorled
or peer at the turmoil and toil
of a transferred
tribe beset with mines and harvests
or toddle her handwork
until she was a callow settler woman
a wagon-awkward phase, in the hitch
of a difficult
stage. She wasn’t the hardy sort to be
the necessary washboard marriage
in a purgatory beyond the pale
the gagged gap, the never-better-land.
What life, what
hard labor, what country we did not know.
Want to read more from Katherine L. Holmes? Buy Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories here.