My great-grandmother's midwife wore wool slippers
that ground a fine dust on the floorboards,
both wood and wool,
as she paced from the fire to the bed
on the night my grandmother was born,
or so the story goes.
It seems all things must remember themselves,
that even those ground to dust must hold an account of events,
that there is some kind of co-consciousness born
from having been felted together in a Russian village.
They might know their pacing,
remember a wooden floor in a now disappeared village
and my grandmother's first squalls
while her father stamped out fires
that the revolutionaries set
to destroy them all.
The earth she found in October,
it knew her.
She and the dust had the smell of each other
from that first night they came and went,
and they greeted each other again
on their way down.