SHE ASKED

Irina Vasilevna Shevandronova (1928–93), “Portrait of Grandmother”
Courtesy Lazare Gallery

She asked me of my grandmother if she was kind
I say that she was gentle but withdrawn of mind
A peasant really, nothing in her life seemed great
Accepting of what happened to her, of her fate

More or less not speaking, only sitting by
Almost never challenging an outright lie
But hearing it distress appearing on her face
Substance and humility would interlace

She deceased for many years I still recall
Forbearance worn around her features like a shawl—
Savage is this world and she had known its worst
Yet no outright sign that she had ever cursed

Immortal is the spirit and her spirit lives
Forever strong and patient now and she forgives