I show my dead grandmothers the map I drew: here is woman, there is queer, here is my dot on gender ave. Wish you’d braid my hair before I cut it. I point to the zip codes I’ve forgotten, names of possible husbands crossed out. On the back, an ad I wrote as a child for a ghost to live in the attic. Was I longing for you? A list of things I never had: Yiddish curses, the texture of a kiss, my name on a birthday card: miss you. Wish you’d visit my dreams. Grandma Rosalie cradles the map, it reminds her of learning to drive. Midwestern highways are easy: here’s the road to Chicago, there is everything else. Wish I could drive with you. I’d sit in your lap. You’d hear my name change, my map quake. Grandma Anita glances, says: whatever you are is fine, honey. I’m from New York. Wish I’d sit in your basement studio. Wish you’d make me laugh. Wish we’d cry on the phone. Wish you’d give me a call. A letter would do.
Photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko on Unsplash