There’s a small tear on the photograph in my hands,
my knuckles the only shapes not tinged
yellow with age: the color of sunlight. My body trying
to step through the film— clouds in the picture,
swallowing. My grandmother, my mother
tells me: black hair against the shining lake spray,
dress in the wind, weeping willow leaves
brushed across the sky like ink. Standing alone,
looking away from the camera, away from my eyes
trying to peel something out of the fragile paper.
Look at me, I want to tell her,
look at the girl who visited your grave while clouds
rolled their bellies across the wet green fields.
The girl who thought in that silence
she could find our roots. In any silence.
But there is none here, only my grainy searching.
Only you, grandmother, so far away
from the girl in this picture. Almost as far as I am
from you, because you died when I was small
and I can only look, trying to hear your voice:
wind rippling the lost reeds. Brushing against your dress,
I think I could be the wind. Grazing against
your cheek, grandmother. The world is silent
just around your face.
Taylor Fang lives in Utah. Her poetry has been published in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Sprout Magazine, HerCulture, and others, as well as recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She also enjoys journalism, piano, and tennis.