Not Forgotten

from the cemetery poems collection

I.

You were 32 years old,
our mother, not forgotten.

There is no
beloved wife or
darling daughter
to aid in your
description.

At 32 how many
children did you
have and how many
remained clung
to that engraving,

that final epitaph,
not forgotten.

II.

I have forgotten
the way my mother
taught me
to make tortillas,
but I still remember
her stories in
broken English.
The one about
the earthquake
and her little dog
she had as a girl.

I have forgotten
my father’s
best jokes
but I still remember
the blue of his eyes
and catch his
scent on rainy days
that remind me
of California.

III.

Gracie,
do your children
still see pieces
of you in their
reflections?

Do your children’s
children come here
to sit at your memory
and rehash your stories?
You died eleven years
before my mother’s birth,
my father would
have been five.

I am a year older
than you ever reached,
but the word mother
remains a foreign pebble
tangled in my throat.
An unmarred womb
I refuse to forfeit.

IV.

If I died today,
what would they
engrave on my stone?
How soon
would I be
forgotten?

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