Momma told me you loved to cook pierogi
did your momma teach you like momma taught me?
did you lean over the counter and press until the dough was smooth
and your wrists ached?
did your momma give you a fork to crease the doughy edges?
did you linger near the stove to watch the water gurgle and pop?
Momma told me you didn’t have any shoes
no furry boots, shiny sneakers, or bright flip-flops
like I have
she said you walked for miles to school on calloused feet
did the other kids have shoes?
why did no one help?
Momma told me you walked alone through the forest
heard the booms like thunder crashing
felt the ground shake
felt your knees tremble
felt your freezing feet throb in thirty-nine
were you scared?
Momma told me you were smart like me
she said you stayed awake late reading
hunched over in the attic
only a flickering light of a candle to guide your eyes
did your eyes turn red?
did your momma ever catch you?
Momma told me you became a principal
I’m proud of you
you were brave, babcia
did you ever cry?