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Artwork by Isabelle Lu, staff artist

I go to a rural Methodist church

that lies in a field of dust & gravel.

a graveyard sits to the left.

I can hear her murmuring, she wishes

to start an eruption. An earthquake

would really make people pay attention, but those

don’t happen around here. All

I can feel are the tremors of her

fervent soul begging me to listen.

Her name is Adoll and she is my great-grandmother .

The wind took her away in the 40s from an unknown ailment.

She had many symptoms. Headaches, migraines, fatigue, stress.

I have those too. When the ground quivers

a bit, I think she’s trying to tell me something,

Maybe a message crucial to my existence:

Misery from stress is hereditary, it has killed too many of our family dear, it killed me.

I don’t want that to be your fate.

One day I came to your mother when she was

a little girl living in an apartment on the Southside of Chicago. She opened the door and there I was not a ghost, but a guardian angel. I stood

there in full form, God allowing me time

to visit this once to see what life had granted my daughter.

I told her to

inform your Gogo that her mother was here and wanted to see her. Your grandmother dismissed me as just a product

of her daughter’s cruel imagination and her

own inclination to believe in a fairytale that

one day, she would meet her mother.

Just not in this lifetime. Every time your mother

tells this story, you ask the same questions:

What did she look like? Was she brown skinned

like her children? Did she resemble your mom?

To which she always responds with a dejected smile

I can’t remember.

How I wish she would’ve come to the door.

I never liked taking pictures. There’s one photo someone

took of me when I didn’t notice and I cut the head off. Now

I understand the consequence of what I’ve done.

My own child can’t remember me or my embrace,

those precious moments when I cradled her

in my arms, rocking her to and fro as her big

pretty brown eyes widened at the sight of my face.

She shares my face.

Dog days of summer, her leaping into the dust

And mosquitoes of the wind.

Infectious grin spreading from here to the stars.

We are kin to the wind and its changes in direction

Daughters of motion and navigation.

Our roads never intersected even though they say

The dead are born again

The memories we shared and the budding ones

that had potential have all been lost, so I make

up for them with revisions of my days on Earth.

There are days that seem like an infinity up here

in the Great Unknown, I suppress boredom with glances

into your past and present. I gave your grandmother

my name, Adoll, the same way fathers bequeath their

sons with their own name.

Your mother honored my legacy by giving

you my name as well. You are the

fourth Adoll in the family and that’s what

brings me comfort when my musings

hold me captive. I take a bit of my essence

And sprinkle its sweetness onto your

Marvelous being, and yes you are that...

Marvelous even when you fail to realize

the power I’ve bestowed upon you and

instead sulk in the lackluster plights of

adolescence. Even so, I know you’ll

carry on my name for ages and when you do,

remember to visit your descendants once

in a while. So that they’ll never forget


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