Dishes

dishes

orange green purple

italian country dishes

with roosters

and rabbits

and carrots and dots

cheerful

hand-painted

hard to break

seeing them i feel uplifted and

joyful and home

white porcelain with

royal blue and gold

rims

my grandmother’s

dishes

fragile like her

a woman i never met

she whom my mother mourned

for as long as i knew her

elegant and simple

like my grandmother

these heirloom dishes

will stay in my keeping

until i too die

like my grandmother

her life cut short

in auschwitz

concentration camp

concentration camp dishes

white blue gold

fragile but heavy

with memories and

guilt

my mother’s

guilt for leaving

her mother behind

at the train station in vienna

when she left

with my father

who saved her life

long ago

eighty years ago

and the dishes

always remind me

of what we

all lost

what i

lost

and find again when

i place the

white blue gold

dishes on my

table

used again

by living breathing

people

my grandmother

smiling gently sweetly

my mother grateful

i always grandmotherless

and now motherless

travel through time

and reclaim my legacy

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