from "Letters to My Daughters"

Your great-grand-father dreamed that his son

The first line and a half is almost like a map in the way it opens up the rest of the poem. -Samantha M.

would be an engineer, the old man,
the blacksmith with square hands.

The image of the blacksmith shows his whole character without having to say it. -Rachel T.

To the Finns up north in that snow country
engineer was like doctor today. In the forties
in Detroit, I learned to play the violin.
So did my father when he was a boy in Ishpeming.
He and I never spoke about becoming. Our conversation
was my bow slipping over the strings, my fingers
searching for notes to tell him, his foot tapping time.

Interesting that the only way she could connect with her father was through music. -Kara T.

That violin cracked ten years ago, it dried out
from loneliness in the coat closet.

I like this new way of describing brokenness, with its details we can picture. -Kara T.

Your grandfather, the engineer, sometimes plays his
at night behind a closed kitchen door.

Despite the music, what a still and lonesome setting! -Kara T.

Your grandmother sews and turns up the television.
But what of you two: The piano you practiced over
is still here, a deaf-mute in our living room.

Very good example of showing rather than telling. -Samantha M.

I strike an imperfect chord now and remember
we never spoke of dreams.

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.