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Family Tree

by Stephanie Alfaia

She looked up when she spoke of him
every vertebra in her spine perfectly stacked
the other
until her head rested, illuded
at the base of her neck

That’s the thing about grandparents
they like to fantasize about the good ol’ times
politely leaving out the very thing that scraped 
against the soles of their feet, 
or feet that stomped against skin

She looked up when she spoke of her
elevating unearned grades saving the very
of paper
that called her bluff
until we smiled and accepted that
you can’t argue with who’s in charge

That’s the thing about my father
he likes to think he’s doing his part
the phone dials and yet
my fingers refuse to swipe
to listen to his sunken dream

She looked up when spoke of me
emphasizing how delicate I was, how
and poise. 

Sing a sing for me darling

“Tomorrow,” the one I like.

That’s the thing about my mother
I hold her in my hands
her eyes looking out into mine
bucket hat taming her mother’s secrets
sitting upright, ready to take on… anything
crosslegged yet inviting
a photograph

I looked at you when I realized
that they tried their best
learning to breathe in between your tears
that’s the thing about family.

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