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When My Greek Grandmother Came to Visit

When my Greek grandmother came to visit,
she got to work, painstakingly polishing
the silver candelabras she'd passed down
to us from family in Asia Minor.
She spray-starched and ironed the table linens,
pressing flat the handmade lace the wash wrinkled,
and searched through our chests of drawers and closets,
looking for clothes to mend with her skilled hands.
She hemmed my jeans, snipped off the ragged fringe
I'd unraveled myself, and was bewildered
that I wailed she'd ruined my style. I loved
my feet bare; she insisted I wear slippers.
Yet when she spoke to me, I understood
our language America made me forget.

Aliki Barnstone

Sheep Meadow Press

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