An Elegy to My Father’s Mother

Robert and Marcy Branski Poetry Scholarship Award – Poetry

Athena Gillespie

St. Francis High School – Senior

I never met my father’s mother,

but I feel her everywhere.

Wrapping myself up in the thick wool blanket she made,

blue with little white sheep covering it.

I sneak into my mother’s closet, standing on a wooden stool to reach the top shelf.

A book of poetry on rough, thick paper, written by Faith Gillespie.

I lie on my stomach on the matted carpet, leafing through page after page.

“42 copies,” the first page reads.

“Mother of none, in labour, rocking in labour, wracked, giving birth to herself. No one sees her.”

My grandmother writes of how they used to kill witches.

Death by pressing.

I can almost hear her voice reading the line, “I said I was a lover not a fighter. Well, I lied. I know it’s both or none.”

I run my fingers over the textured art printed next to the poems

on the handmade French paper.

Only black and white images,

clouds, zippers, waves.

I lie on the floor for hours,

only getting up when I hear the sound of the garage door opening and a car door slamming shut.

I gently place the book back where I’d found it,

knowing I’d be back soon.

I never met my father’s mother,

but I feel her everywhere.