How do I sit with this knowing of not-knowing,
Or attempt to commune with the great-grandfather of my great, grandfather
When I cannot speak the words of his mother tongue?
What can I hear in this restless silence, left
Long after my grandma still had breath
To fill in all those gaps in my memory?
Why did I not record more than the highlight reels of my ancestors,
Nor seek out the hidden tracks of their unfulfilled desires,
Nor ever get to feel those cracked sharecropper’s hands graze my cheeks?
Where shall I carry this ponderous and precious cargo
Of inexpressible grief, regret and sorrow
For all that has been lost and left behind?