Prologue: Old Alice, Late 21st Century


July 14, 2088
(To be opened July 14, 2140)

You’ll find the charcoal pencil wrapped in oilcloth
And buried
Under the southwest corner
Of the Seattle Art Museum..

Handle it like an explosive.

The silver cafetiere you have already,
Though you probably don’t know that it’s more
than an antique coffee pot.

Maybe when your grandmother gave it to you
On your seventeenth birthday
You were surprised.
But she was doing what her grandmother did,
And her grandmother,
And hers,
Over thirteen generations.

Soleil is a fitting name:
Soleil and Marisol both
Are daughters of the sun
And light is what is needed.
You are the counterbalance:
The seventh generation forward.
The grandmothers have been waiting for you.

I have been waiting.

I am an old woman now, Soleil.
This secret has kept more than seven decades
Between me and just one other.
Danger will follow your knowing,
But the danger of not knowing is too great.

When I was young someone told me
a river could divide
Into two streams–
That the second stream could take the river captive.

With the charcoal pencil you will find a sketchbook.
The drawings are of what I remember.
The poems are of what happened.

When you feel the river flooding,
You must act.
God knows what will come
if I don’t listen.

Your grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother,