Grandmother

Posted on 13 February 2010

for Reva McDaniel Huey

Your voice like dry leaves.
     Your skin the color of water.
          Your black trunk

that smelled of the Southwest,
     desert honeysuckle, soap tree, hackberries–
          that bore its fruit of Yahtzee dice,

small blue candies,
     magazines with pictures of places
          none of us expected to see.

You made the rounds
     of your children’s homes -
          no more than two years in one place

until my father could bear no more,
     moved out himself
          and left you his apartment.

Was it restlessness
     or stillness brought the disease?
          Yes, I know better,

though if I’m to be honest,
     assigning blame
          was an act you understood.

You didn’t know me
     the last time I saw you.
          You tried to speak,

words evaporating
     before they formed meaning,
          the shape of steam

over a well-traveled teakettle,
     the false promise
          of tangibility.

I hope you are comfortable.
     At peace, maybe.
          Even feel at home.

That trunk–big enough to hold a body,
     a place we could hide
          and wait to be sought.


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