Terri Lynn Cummings
When her parents were alive
she teased them about their appendages.
Mom’s feet twitched. Dad’s hands trembled.
Today, she twitches and trembles
on the rungs of descent.
When her pencil pecks a table
she pictures Grandma’s absent tapping
over a crossword puzzle. She wears
her father’s ears and plays the flute
like the great-grandpa she never knew.
Their DNA has migrated
into the land of her body
knitted her behavior
with thick and thin strands of history.
Like her mother, one sip of hot tea
with milk and sugar lifts the blue
from her mood until the fear
that she is alone drains from the cup.
Poet’s Notes: My parents and grandparents and those before them kissed my body with their interests, habits, hair, hands, and well, it goes on and on. We never part from one another, not even in death. When I miss their laughter, I hear them in my own. They comfort, console, cajole, coax me from the lonely room, lift me in their arms, and carry me to the place in my heart where we sing under the same roof.
On the day I wrote “DNA”, I had looked at a sketch my mother had drawn of our dog, Abbey. I was there when she drew it. We have the same hair, eyes, and hands. It has been three years since she departed, and I miss her still.
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