Nyah Ethel


Lee Francis

Will I remember
        your soapbox and epistles
                blueberry pie and chili
                driving to California
                and early mornings on the beach

Will I remember
        your coal-black eyes and delicate hands
                fresh baked bread and sweet juicy peaches
                Madama Butterfly and Turandot
                Sambas, fox-trots, and of course, the waltz

Will I remember
        your stubborn determination and finagling
                occasional picnics and afternoon tea
                oak china cabinet and shattered glass
                ink stained rug and your Indian name

Will I remember
        your Great Books and Great Ideas
                wed-NESS-day and Feb-RUE-airy
                Ceremonies of State and Inaugural Balls
                Un Bel Di and Patsy Cline

Will I remember
        your powwow dancing and making beds
                crossword puzzles and Jeopardy
                collecting sea shells and burning sand
                cleaning beans and the morning sun

Will I remember
        your sleepless nights and long conversations
                colorful jokes and heart-felt laughter
                blood-red roses and sea gulls swooping
                dark chocolate cake and foul tasting mangos

Will I remember
        your love of art and beautiful music
                playing the piano and singing corridos
                gasping for air and tripping on your shadow
                chocolate milkshakes and M.R.I.'s

Will I remember
        to hide my fear and bite my tongue
                be as good as and not better than
                look in the mirror and be true to myself
                cry in the dark behind closed doors

Nyah is the Keres (Laguna Pueblo) word for mother/grandmother.

© 1998 Lee Francis

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