Celestial Navigation – Diana Dinverno

-For my newly discovered cousins.

They said my aunt worked for the BBC
during the war, a fashionable woman,
hat angled just so,
who didn’t talk about the past;

when pressed, claimed
her father was a lowlands Scottish farmer,
her mother, a Spanish opera singer,
none of which was true

although they had landed in Scotland
after escaping Memel, a Lithuanian
port town on the Baltic
ceded to Hitler in ’39.

She never told a soul her real name,
where she began,
what she left
in Glasgow,

her father who tutored Talmud
scholars in a cold-water flat,
her tuberculotic mother,
seven little brothers and sisters,

letters from Memel
hinting what was to come,
shattered glass, yellow stars,
darkness swallowing

every grandparent, aunt, uncle,
cousin, including dear Rachel
fixed to memory with her A-lined coat,
hands tucked inside a muff.

My aunt navigated by fear,
never spoke
of all those extinguished
stars, unaware

they would continue
to glitter the night, find my eye,
imprint their light,
guide me to what she’d lost—

scattered family,
patched hearts
tattooed to chests,
arms stretched

skyward, toward
the exquisite hush,
the overture,
aria’s rise.

Diana DinvernoDiana Dinverno’s work has appeared in The MacGuffin, Peacock Journal, Slippery Elm Literary Journal, Orange Blossom Review and other publications. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Michigan Poetry Society’s 2019 Margo LaGatutta Memorial Award, the Barbara Sykes Memorial Humor Poem Prize and nominated for Sundress Publication’s Best of the Net 2020. Diana writes and practices law in Southeastern Michigan. Read more at  http://dianadinverno.com.