Grandmother— / sonia farmer

I wanted to reach you—I wanted
answers, maybe—not exactly—I wanted
to reach—Where exactly?—is your face
the face of heaven, the face
in the small black wings of violets—
Or is it emerging from its center, like the center of
a rose that smells like you, that keeps on opening
to reveal—to reveal—some imperceptible
beauty always out of our grasp—some
secret buried within, only accessible
with the black feet of vanishing bees—or—
Are you underwater, have the priests
got it all wrong, has the world
turned upside down—Maybe

there is an edge, an imperceptible edge,
some waterfall that flows down into
a point—Is that edge at the edge of
some strange triangle in the Caribbean
whose structure is only known
to the select few we cannot recover—
Is that point like the light of a lighthouse, blinking—
or St. Elmo’s light in a storm,
his candlelight disappearing and leaving
the wax of grief behind, like pollen—I was here—
I too understand this language—don’t you believe me?

Over static, this white noise of
every heartbeat on earth,
like a hive of bees in an underwater cathedral—
a call comes through—some
imperceptible thump vanishing
in the distance, then reappearing—It says—
Mayday, mayday—It says—I wanted
to reach you so I used
a language surely you only knew—

It says—What is buried in you has become
unburied—A language as endangered
as the radio—a language
with no perceptible edge or center, but one
that has been revealed to me all the same—
a language that will bring me back to you


Sonia Farmer is the founder of Poinciana Paper Press. She’s the author of two chapbooks whose work has appeared in numerous collections including Poui and The Caribbean Writer. She holds a BFA in Writing from Pratt Institute, and is currently pursuing her MA in Book Arts from Camberwell College of the Arts.


  1. DDDAAAAAA-YYYYYUUUUUMMMM! This right here is IT Sonia.

  2. What a lovely tribute. You must have very deep admiration for your grandmother. All of our grands are treasures of knowledge and wisdom. We shouldn’t take them lightly. Don’t let them go without sharing their knowledge or that knowledge is lost forever.

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