Elegy for my father’s mother

for Gram, who I never met. 


My mother tells me something about you— 

your favorite color was yellow. 

Dandelions bloom in forgotten fields, 

         where caretakers are taking care elsewhere. 


My mother tells me something else about you— 

you were a zealous introvert. 

Dining room tables, congested by cousins (strangers) 

         with an open seat at the head. 


What can I say about you? 

Do I speculate on what could be 

         should be would be 

if cancer hadn’t met you so soon? 


What can I say about us? 

         That I could have been your favorite? 

                   should have had more time? 

                   would have sat with you, away from the table? 

                                                                I don’t have the energy. 

What would you say about me? 

That I’m my father’s son? That I’m rigid, 

or that I can be 

          softer, gentler, dimensional. 


Yellow tells me something about you— 

your disposition was composed of 

something set apart from my own, 

         something brighter, 



By Elijah Maxwell

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