If I step back three times,
to my mother’s mother’s mother,
I know only that you could thread a needle
without glasses when you were old,
ah, yes, it is true
that you had two husbands,
one died from a fall when riding,
what happened to the other?
hush, child, things happen
that you had a daughter, Leonilda –
who left her seven children to your care
they were good children
when she took off after her husband died.
Or was murdered. Who killed him, why?
dark times are best forgotten
Of you not even a photo remains,
only a name: Rosalyn,
and I’m not even sure how it’s spelt.
don’t vex yourself
But who were you, where exactly
did the family come from, and why
quell your interest
did you move to Guyana with its warm rain
and sea Demerara brown, as if filled with turbulence?
at least you can move forward
untroubled by hardship
and who decided to make the family British?
What happened to the family annals?
such things do not concern you
be grateful we removed the past