a tattered memoir in sepia tones
hanging on the wall of your office
a tiny plump sparrow of a woman
by a lone stone cottage
toothless, poor old thing
a warm shawl pulled to cover her head
an apron, worn shoes
from a time long past
from another world
my Turkish grandmother
what was her name?
you never said
i never asked
– Jamie Dedes
My paternal grandmother never made it to the United States and died before I was born. I remember my father mentioning her only once and saying that when his father died he was sad that his mother never wore colors again. She only dressed in black. In some times and places, it’s customary for women to wear only black after the death of a husband – not just for a mourning period, but for the rest of their lives.
A sepia photograph of her hung in my father’s office. I knew she was his mother and never thought to ask her name or to ask about her life. That’s something I regret. Because of this I think, she comes to mind more often than the only grandparent I ever knew, my mother’s mother, Adele.
Write a poem, creative nonfiction piece or fictionalized account of a grandparent or other relative. Perhaps there is a mystery – something specific you wish you knew and had asked about – or perhaps there’s something you wish you’d done with him or her.
© 2016, poem, prompt and illustration, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved