Princess—the rowing woman always / stooped, squatted low plinking vegetable peels into thin / bowls?
Oh, how I love poems that trace family and bloodline and division and all the things that are particular to existing as a second generation immigrant. There is a palpable familiarity in Rashanda Williams’ poem ‘Rajkumarie’ published in Cosmonauts Avenue. The details of a grandmother not quite one’s own, but more than simply a stranger in a poem.
She’d wash, clip / plastic bags and Ziplocs to clotheslines. I’d unclip them, / lest the hot white American boy down the street see.
This poem is one part dedication, one part storytelling. It’s remarkable in the way spare yet succinct details can create a complete sense of not only a person, but a human in motion; the dynamics with those around them, or the crux at which two decisive minds meet and conflict and settle. The hard-to-determine, not always discernible way love runs silent through the blood.
Once, I caught her trying to write / my name on a scrap of paper, each letter struggling / to take form.