At Sims, My Grandmother's Song

by Jennifer Padilla-Burger

for my father

I stare out the window

to catch a glimpse of her

in silent stones, fluttering leaves.

She was born here, walked these boards

heart beating bright, watching

seven sparrows learn to fly.

I look for her between brances

the space behind my ears

hoping she will whisper something—

            a story of my father

the things that filled her with joy—

            the secrets of her heart

and what she knew for sure.


I peer around the doorway

wondering how her hair smelled, wanting

to know how her eyes looked when

she knew the truth of something.

I look for her, think of her

breathe in the moving river

and glance up at a fresh blue sky

feel my toes push down into river stones.


Nearby a bird makes its nest of twigs

moss and string

curving and wrapping them into a home

            for eggs that will hope, believe

and wonder.


Jennifer Padilla-Burger

Jennifer Padilla-Burger values family above all, and relishes the time spent with her husband and two small children. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice focusing on helping clients connect with others and develop shame resilience.  Jennifer serves as a clinical supervisor for a non-profit working to prevent and treat child abuse. Learn more about Jennifer's work at