You were young when you first put your hands upon me.

You turned my knobs up and up and up,

Because the only way to get to 3 was past 16.


There is a photograph your mother showed you.

It is as full of secrets as I am.

In it an old woman with thistle down hair sits a baby on her lap.

That is you.

You are not that baby, you were never a baby. You were you as long as you could remember.


Like all photographs this one comes with a story.

It is a funny story which is good, you think, because you don’t remember this woman,

your great grandmother.

You only remember the day she died.


My first owner was Grandma Snow,

your great grandmother.

She was your mother’s mother’s mother.

You don’t know when she bought me.

You don’t know why your mother keeps me.

I know she keeps me to keep a piece of her grandmother.

I know her grandmother told your mother she could do anything she wanted to do.

I know your grandmother never told her that.


Grandma Snow,

your great grandmother had pure white hair by 21.

I can’t reach that high, though I’m many years older now.


On the night in question you sat on the kitchen island.

You sat and your father was there.

The phone rang and your mother picked up. She had to pick up.

She was expecting the phone to ring.

It didn’t ring after she picked it up. She left you alone but you didn’t know why.


Your mother left.

I know she left to see her grandmother–

the woman you don’t remember.

That was when she died.

Later, years later, your mother says she watched her grandmother die.

You will never see a grandmother die.

Your mother says Grandma Snow was ready to die.

She will tell you Grandma Snow clasped her hand and said,

“On to the next big adventure.”

This will feel strange to you because you are afraid of death

Because death means being alone.

Death means going back to that night on the kitchen island.

It means that phone is ringing again.

It means there is something out there you don’t know about.

Like the woman name Grandma Snow.

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