i found an old picture today of my only grandmother, the one i all but forgot. she was small, but spoke in a mountainous voice and had a laugh like rolling thunder, even after sixty years of smoking. all the women in my family are small, smoke, and have wonderful booming laughs.
she hugged me too tight once when i was six or seven and dislocated my shoulder. she broke out in that seismic laughter when she popped it back in place and i cried for just a second, said i was a tough little bit. that's my last clear memory of her.
my grandmother died after a major ****** when i was nine, or maybe eight. i did not cry at the funeral we held in her nursing home. as an adult, i wonder why. i listened to the tiny assembly, and to my mother breaking down, day drunk and just messy with grief, but i stared at the aviary the entire time and did not shed one tear.
they kept finches for the old ladies to feed and talk to, and i always loved them. my nan did, too. years back, a peppery white society finch got named "little bitty," after me, and when we found out he was actually a he, we laughed our big matching laughs.
i'm in my twenties now and completely forgot about that wonderful woman until i dug out a dusty, stained polaroid of her and my pregnant mother at a christmas party in the nineties. suddenly i'm remembering every little moment i spent with her and crying like a child over a box of forgotten family relics. i realised just then, face a mess of tears and snot and attic dust, that i forgot along with her the only bright parts of my childhood.
i will never be able to tell her how thankful i am for her influence. she alone instilled in me that i am, indeed, a tough little thing. she was more motherly to me than mine ever was or will be, and i didn't even cry at her funeral, which had a grand assembly of six people. my mother and i were the only family members present, the rest were her friends from the home. i suspect most of them are passed by now, they were all upwards of eighty back then, and i know my mom has no space in her *****-pickled brain for her late mother anymore. so, i will think of her instead. her tiny, work weathered hands and her giants laugh, her foul mouth and bright eyes, her wonderful golden heart.
i miss you, nan, and i hope you knew how much i loved you even though i was too socially inept as a child to say it. i am proud to bear your resemblance, proud of my iron grip and sailors vocabulary. i hope with a fierceness that i will have half the fire you did when i leave this world, and i hope to also leave such an imprint on someone who really needed it.
is this even poetry? i dont know
excuse the lack of structure here, im still crying and did the entire time i wrote this.