All My Grandmother Poems End in Smoke

by Jessi Jarrin

One of mine died

in a car crash

Christmas week

on the way to work

at her joyería. Dad

was only sixteen,

couldn’t understand

all the officer said,

but he knew

what was missing.

And to me, it was just

a story until I

started writing.

 

We all come from women.

 

The other, the mother

of my mom,

is cold and silent.

I don’t know which is worse.

When I was a girl,

she loved my laugh

but made me

quiet down

like she made

mom cut open

her eyes so men here

would be able to see them.

She’s not dead,

but I don’t see her.

 

What a shame to have no grandmother.

 

But, I did have one once. For a little.

My ex’s. She smoked

so many Marlboros, you’d never

forget she was American.

I knew he ignored

how she walked out of every

movie, how she sat

out on her green plastic chair

in the garden.

 

But I

watched her

when I could, I

 

followed the smoke

rising up and out

and god, I

 

grew mad at him

missing the show:

 

Here was a woman planting toxins

not because she couldn’t help it but

I imagine she was tired

of how much life

a woman must

give.

 

When I lie down in dead grass,

I close my eyes and imagine dancing

with all the grandmothers,

and we will be laughing and smoking and

nothing will be missing.

About the Author

Jessi Jarrin is from Lakewood, California. She received her B.A. in Creative Writing from CSULB. She is a freelance writer for literary sources including The Daily 49’er, Women’s Republic, and Antifragile. Her poetry has been published in MadWomxn Magazine and ¡Pa'lante! Journal.