The second time through,
                 on page thirty-six, with only
        four to go in the passenger lists of the SS Blucher,
    my eyes heavy as marbles,
             I finally found her, sailing across
a great ocean, 20 years old, $30 in her
        mended pocket, a "dressmaker" she claims,
this young woman, leaning against the rail,
                 who will have a child
      who will also one day have a child,
                                                who will be me,
            looking now at this line, reading it again and again,
 the barely legible, "Sonia Sholkov," my grandmother,
           a line more moving than any in all literature.
  Pereyaslov fades beyond memory.
                         Your mother Viggassy, gone.
      Dead ahead, America.
                                                                     June 19, 1913.
                                                                                     Welcome back to me,

May 1998

All written material © Bill Schechter, 2016
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