I look up, in the black and white picture—my
hair still cropped short, my mug floating atop a
checkered apron as I sit in Grandfather’s lap.
He looks far and away.
Though I can’t see his face (we are turned in the
same direction), my smile mirrors his and my body
posture exudes comfort and joy. There’s fatigue
mixed with a shy happiness in his gaze.
In the back, a not quite readable date. If I am
four, he’s sixty. And a note: he drove a long way
for the first time. About sixty, he’s teaching
himself how to drive.
Says the note, we’re on a cousin’s terrace in a
small sea resort. Was I on the passenger seat, as
we tumbled uphill on the winding road? Now
we have safely arrived.
My dark eyes, like night birds, drink in the horizon.
His are pale, full of oceans. A slim railing draws the
ethereal border of the beyond that he, that we
braved. The rest dissolves in white.
Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. Born in Rome, living in Los Angeles, she is an artist, musician and dancer. She is the author of Other Maidens (BlazeVOX, 2020), An Alphabet of Birds (Moonrise Press, 2020), In Her Terms (Cholla Needles Press, 2021), Pages of a Broken Diary (Psky’s Porch, 2022) and Alter Alter (Elyssar Press, 2022).