In the bones
of my grandfather’s basement,
I inhale the dust
that created my family.
I discover a book and blow
off the age. In my grandmother’s
handwriting: Book of the Dead.
On the first page is a greasy
The salt sucked at his feet,
He pushed at the water,
and it pushed back.
It blew through his bones and
smoke was buried into his pores and
grease from his boat soaked into his skin.
When he came home, my grandmother
sat him down and licked the salt out of him.
She spat the remains into a bucket.
When she finished, she added water
to it and poured it on the flowers.
My grandmother woke with salt
crystallized on her cheeks.
She put on her rough slippers
and walked through her quiet home.
She avoided the pictures on her wall.
She opened the door to her yard,
cringing at the sunlight,
and called her remaining children.
When she had nothing to do,
she sang the songs her mother
sang to her during the war.
There are no gravestones
in La Tremblade, France.
I turn the rasping pages,
hoping the memories will leak
onto fingers, so I can suck them off.