Since I was seven and finally able to decipher the story hidden within my grandparent’s thick Lithuanian accents I’ve struggled to get their amazing story onto paper.  Twenty years later bits and pieces, fragmented history and narrative fill a folder on my computer.  Starts and stops, excitement and disappointment, these are to be expected when half the characters involved in the story are dead and the other half are thousands of miles away, their memories fading.  Here are a few poems about the journey…

I long to tell their story
but only speak half the langauge
needed to do so

before this writing
can continue
with authority
as opposed to along
meandering memory trails
i must listen
for the questions
the right ones
ones to bring focus
to this scattered history
and ask them
to the right people


I could hear him smiling
Leon, my Uncle Leon
on his end of the phone
near the frozen shores of lake eerie
so good to hear him laugh
at his pain, his sadness, his situation
“I feel like I’m a prisoner
and my jailer is a madman”
we both laughed
until warm

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