with a feather caught at the back
of her throat turns towards me
and beckons, so I follow
her into the back
where darkness flourishes.
My eyes adjust by degrees.
as my grandmother rocks
in her wicker chair
her wedding cake hats on shelves filled with dust,
her mothballed dresses
hanging from a bent rod.
She ahems the feather
into the air, begins again
to tell the thick accent
stiff with stories of countries,
ghettos, settlements carved from earth
to be returned to dirt.
She hands me my birth certificate
blemished with centuries of nomads,
their fists clenched at their sides
as they walk the long snake
of exile across another borderland
I chew on their red toes,
look around for the hollow reed
with its melody
growing beside water.