The woman in this photograph with the I've-seen-it-all-so-don't-mess-with-me eyes is my great-grandmother. Her husband left Poland seven years before she did to try to establish a life for all of them in the United States. She stayed behind for seven years with these two small kids and two bigger ones, too, the family store, and the Cossacks that liked to burn down the store for fun. I have her name, her lips and her candlesticks.
The sweet boy on the left is my great-uncle. He came to America as a child and became a citizen, then died for this country in World War II before any baby could inherit anything from him. A gravestone in Pennsylvania has his name. Nobody has his lips.
The serious girl on the right with the austere haircut is my grandmother. I have her nose, her eyes and her famous stubbornness. L has her name. Both girls got the shape of her eyes (but their daddy's gray-blue color) and her legendarily strong will.
The boy who's coming -- will he look like his sisters? Will he look like his ancestors? We carry our legacies inside us. How will his manifest?