Grandmother’s Journal

How like us do the things we love become —

The weathered edges of my grandmother’s journal
The same burnished brown her hands had been;
Gossamer skin the same delicate chiffon
As the sun-bleached pages.

She lived by the shore, the waves breaking
At her doorstep;
Summer nights, we were lulled to sleep
By the whisper of the water,
And roused by the shrieking
Of impatient gulls.

We trawled the beach barefoot,
Our pants rolled clumsily to the knee;
My grandmother sat on the rain porch,
Where we’d carry her our treasures;
Handfuls of jingle shells, like jostling coins,
Hypnotic nautili, stately conchs.
We piled each one on her lap
Until her skirts were sodden
and heavy with sand.

Each night we begged for a story,
Hoping she would open that leatherbound tome,
Hoping we’d be privvy to those secrets.
Each night she’d tell us a story from memory,
Her words lost in the gauzy haze of sleep
And the susurration of the sea.

The pages are curling at the edges now;
The yellowing planes of their surfaces
Undulating, like waves,
Warped beneath the decades-old press
Of her pen.

Here is the story we longed to be told:
In her feathery script, a catalog
Of every treasure we ever dredged up,
Dated, detailed, and sketched
In practiced ink-strokes.

Page by page, I read our story.

Sand pools in the gutters of the pages,
Like errant jewels into reverent hands.