We have something to tell
you and I knew the serious-
ness because they never
had anything to tell
that they didn't just tell.
That grandmother of yours
who we said died
before you were born
is living at Rockland State
Mental Hospital.
I want to mention
how things explain
themselves eventually,
like Mother's fishy smiles
when we talked about
grandparents or Father
always handing coins to
gone women on the streets.
Next was the visit. We took her
for a drive. Dad was never
David, but Burt or Harry
and Mom never Kate
though she repeated I am
Kate to Selma who was always
Selma in the front seat
of the Ford Fairlane between
Father at the wheel and
Mother's surrounding arm.
Grandmother was so friendly
with her perky mistaken names
and locations. I sat as Phil
or Seymour in the back seat
on the Lower East Side
of Manhattan in Long Island
and Warsaw. It was 1937—
before I was born.