Wrists like Fern's
My grandmother Ardith is a resilient, storied pillar in our family. In a way that is unique to each of us, she props us up and propels us forward. If you've read The Unfolding, then you'll have stumbled upon a tiny tale about her. She is the most fiery, passionate, loving, generous and kind woman I have ever known. Years ago, I began recording my conversations with her.
Once a week, I take Effie to her old town home that faces city park. My grandfather swiftly scoops Effie up and strolls her to the park to feed the ducks. I eat dinner and drink tea in the garden with Ardith, whilst whispering about literature, politics, art and culture.
Of all her stories, I most enjoy those about her family. Her mother, my late great grandmother and namesake, Fern, is the inspiration behind this poem. I wrote this poem to be included in an upcoming collection that I am excitedly kindling with my dear friend, tattoo artist and illustrator, Kaia Holbrook (@kaiaelise on Instagram).
i have my great grandmother fern's wrists
bird-like and bony
child-like and knobby
carved from gnarled branches
guarding the whisper of a stream
running along the colorado prairie
where fern lived
and wrung her wrists
from snapping the necks of chickens
from severing the heads of rattlesnakes
from burying her 6-year-old daughter
and her lover
whenever i look down
at my wrists
so easily bruised
so easily broken
i remind myself that i am strong
with wrists like fern’s