Grandma (whose name is Jasmine)

You feather like ink on linen
or smudged pencil lines
whenever I try to place you
in my mind;
my memory marred
by weather, by seasons,
by the Pacific
that separates us.

I could picture you in
humid Asia;
lightweight, fragile
as if you’re formed by
the bones of bird
or fish.

Over there it’s Jasmine leaves,
sweet oranges, oiled wood.
While I was a child
that foreign land
became a part of you.
The clustered buildings
an extension of your frame
and the crazed labyrinth,
the noise, the dust,
these were there
to sustain you
as if this other reality
made you possible.

Some days
you appear to me
less disorganized.
You become my
mother’s mother,
who gave me this
almond faced, pear shaped
And I’d wish to apologize
for my strangeness,
for not missing you
as much as I ought to.

But even as I think the words
you disappear again,
into whispered greetings
small voice
over the telephone.

~ Jenny Lum

Jenny Lum has loved language since she could remember. Her first attempt at writing poetry came when she was nine years old. Born and raised in Vancouver with a Cantonese background, Jenny’s inspirations are often from the natural world around her. She has not considered getting her poetry published until recently.

11 Responses to “Grandma (whose name is Jasmine)”

  1. […] the aboriginal column here: Grandma (whose name is Jasmine) Thank you for reading this post. You can now Leave A Comment (0) or Leave A […]

  2. Hi Jenny. This is one of the best poems I’ve read from you and you know how far back I’ve followed you 🙂 You speak and write with much honesty. Your words are simple but at the same time poetic and meaningful. The images are clear and nostalgic. You creatively and observantly illustrated two realities and generations and managed to draw the separated boundaries into one linear composition again, showing how the differences can come together. The imagery you’ve used are powerful and beautifully written. Each word of the poem was carefully selected and each line contained just enough words but with much meaning. Keep up the excellent work! You are such a muse 🙂

  3. hey jenny – great work! congratulations on getting published 🙂

  4. jenny, you always amaze me :]

  5. You have a gift of beautifully sewing together words. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. Such simple imagery and unassuming words….yet together create a deep and resounding feeling. Congrats – beautiful as always.

  7. nice work, Jenny =)

  8. Congratulations Jenny! I liked it. =)

  9. Congrats Jen! I love your poem! It is meaningful and beautiful.
    I can’t wait to see more of your work!

  10. Thanks everyone for your encouragement!

  11. Hey Jenny,

    Didn’t you write another poem about your grandma before? I like it!


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