family, Memories, Writing

My Grandmother’s Dishes


orange green purple
italian country dishes
with roosters
and rabbits
and carrots and dots
cheerful, hand-painted
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
the woman 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
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.