For Feodosia

“Yeat! Yeat! Yeat!”

My little Grandma’s arthritic hands, her shuffling feet -
bunions pushing through dime-store slippers - and me -
A little scared girl at the table by the window:
I absorb my Grandma, whole, into my skin.

“Yeat! Yeat! Yeat!”

Old wives’ tales, years of tears, the dead -
not forgotten, but carried, heavy - filling the room -
And sadness, never spoken.
I am in that room, with Grandma - with Ma -
with sunshine, old curtains, a dirty oilcloth:
silent, watching:
I sense the yearning to be set free.

“Yeat! Yeat! Yeat!”

Cabbage, tomatoes, sour salts and Slavic sounds
sizzling into Old World Soup
and me - sipping in the New World -
I absorb my Grandma, whole,into my heart.

“Yeat!” “Yeat!” “Yeat!”

Love is not spoken here;
still, I hear:
a whisper,in foreign tongue -
“I love you.”
Quiet, inside the words.