Of my great-grandmother’s  paintings

my elders framed a seascape of the Great

Stone Face (which collapsed in 2003).

It hangs on my bedroom wall.


They also let me pick one to keep.

I chose a sunset — a rich fan of reds,

some brighter, some deeper: colors

appealing to my seven-year-old taste.


I think my grandfather tried to explain

what the painting represented,

but it didn’t make sense to me then.

His words came back to me decades later,


long after I’d left for college, my parents

had moved to another town,

and the bloodred sunset had gone

with the rest of my childhood.


If I had infinite thin-air storage

of all I’d ever owned, I could show you

how my great-grandmother saw

the sky after Krakatoa.