an enlarged photograph of my grandmother
slowly turns violet
hung above stove
hot oil anoints hem of homemade dress
posing in her father’s yard
all sand and concrete
a poor man’s garden—
though papa’s tomatoes were legendary.
i wanted it there—
that i belong, am tethered—
no immigrant to family
and for her blessing
when tossing basil in the sauce.
jade velvet heels with rhinestone buckles
violet begins blanching
seams wrought from teenage hand
maybe it’s the cheap paper i used to print—
or she is done watching over me
my earthly pettiness
she wants to dance with grandpa again,
forever cruise the artificial waters of the Panama Canal.
sometimes i see her ghost
in the moving leaf of a fern.
By Tanya Tuzeo