Virginia wearing a hat. grandmother Janet looking on from the right.
here my picture see me now, my picture is a ghost, both of us, both. because of her, you. because of you, me. who would guess the inevitable? baby feet to baby shoes, then, then all the rest. that hat would have belonged to Lou. another place, far and far, that hat had marched. seen what couldn’t be undone. not for him, not for anyone. and now, a mystery again. new life looks like this. a smile and a curiosity.
first Vermont, a garden full of rocks. hard harvesting. then better California soil, a better life. that was the story anyway. roads of dirt. several hours ride into town, then more, back again. don’t waste a trip. such is life. what matter this story? none. but in remembering, I am.
I will be a cloud myself in time.
grandfather Leonard Sr., and even younger Virginia thinking about her feet.
hard to leave well enough alone. that was the way arms were held.
indifferent to blood. a foreign kin. too English for their own good.
clouds now, all of you. rain already given forth. a nursery made of lath.
I almost could have touched you then. but like a cloud, my hand passes
right on through. what cloud? they’d say.
but here I am, bright as day. then – and – now.. spiraling.
circular. moving away. moving closer to. a farm and a nursery, both now gone. times change. time diminishes. an entropy of spirit this was. now I hold the tail. and this in time is where the tale ends, seven hundred miles with different pioneers who liked the wet and the cold. as long as the soil was good to sprout. another seed in the pocket.
and then, then a rising Sun. another Leonard once more into the soup.
mother, grandmother, uncle, the first one of them.
mother, grandmother, I went back like a bird. what remained? how true my memory. yours, already beyond the Moon. mine, less to recognize than imagined but mom, I think I still saw our small house. that one with the large grafted walnut tree in the back.
- family looks like this. my mother, Virginia. my grandmother, Janet.
an uncle, Leonard, and grandfather, Leonard Coates Sr. pioneers