Jennie’s Hat

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dreams of reading an ex-lover’s journals
a plane hurtling east towards Iran
blinking dry eyes
and panicking when I realized
I forgot to pack contacts
Also my grandmother president
was death smiling in the room
she greeted each of us
with a hug

sixteen months at the speed of life
I wake to our story
your words
three dates and all the dates between
the known and unknown
a collection of mothers and daughters
encircling our heads
like the birds in Jennie’s Hat
the book I loved as a child
about a girl whose plain hat
became a masterpiece of ribbons
and flowers and living nests
that she wore proudly to church
then put in a white box
for another day

I was Jenny, too
and always the Jena
you were born to love
I will not put away my hat
I will not forget to pack
my glasses
I will not miss you at the gate
I will read your journals
freely and with your permission
because you have always been writing
our story on paper and on planes
on the memory of lives left behind
and on my heart
which has never been anywhere
but right here
and is always right on time

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