My grandma told me that she was not allowed to be herself.
She told me about the past, a foreign country - they did things differently over there.
She would look into the mirror, destroyed.
Tiny pieces of herself reflected.
She couldn’t recognize her own image. lost.
She told me a big word that should mean something.
I shivered at its sound. I felt the ghostly hands that force-fed assimilation and unfamiliarity into my tongue as I repeated it.
I imagined beyond the grey photos.
The people pressed together, mausoleum of lost and found, of excruciating hope, of Latin dignity.
Exalt the center man. Bright eyes, forced smile, military uniform, hands in the air.
Massacre written in his every move, white teeth bleeding ghost stories.
Washed himself to German bone, European ancestrality.
He seemed so little to me - ordinary.
Grandma laughed. Her smile riverbed the pride, of who outlived their torturers
The smile lingered at each corner of her mouth
and I almost tasted the contentment that whirl and suddenly coagulate
Into her own memories.