Relative(ity)

My maternal grandparents (center) at their 50th wedding anniversary, surrounded by their children, with their spouses.

My maternal grandparents (center) at their 50th wedding anniversary, surrounded by their children, with their spouses.

Grandfather, grandmother – children of the Depression
I am theirs, as much as they are mine;
Teachers demanding fealty to the life of learning,
A loyalty I eagerly, willingly gave.
They bought my books, remembering old struggles –
Their own poverty in payment for the life of learning
The payment of energy to bring them asymptotic (academic) freedom
Unbound from family failure – unreasonable destiny of drink or despair.
They bought my books, paying for my own freedom of mind.
I brought their gifts to them, proud and shy
Telling them what I learned – embryonic physicist
Full of relativity to share with relatives
But my frame of reference is mine, theirs was theirs;
We are symmetrical (not identical).
Now they are both ash – my own writing
Will never lie in their laps as my big (proud) textbooks did.
But I am theirs, as much as they are mine:
Symmetry – relative(ity).

[For April, I will be posting a poem each week. An earlier version of this poem originally appeared on my Tumblr.]


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