Sunday, November 23, 2008

Louise Grandmother; Thanksgiving

I can remember the way she would suck
Her teeth after family meal. Tiny slivers of light
between each tooth just large enough to pull air
and casserole through. 

The cold yellowed corners of the room, harsh
right angles pierce her supple body curving
there among the fluorescent lighting, flickering
through the fan. 

She wrote, with slanted perfection, the birthdays
of her grandchildren on each corresponding 
square of her calendars; the year of aging
planned out. 

She kept nearly everything, preserved in clear plastic
baggies; gold plated social security cards, authenticity
certificates, greeting cards and letters written on 
lined notebook paper. Cleaning out her house was like
rummaging through the basement of an old
American Museum, the dust of life covering 
bunches of fake flowers, 8 track tapes, thinning
handkerchiefs and her unused lotion bottles. 

Her feeble legs had stopped walking. I can see her
placing her wrinkled hand upon her thigh
to Brace, up the bricked stairs. She'd make it into
the kitchen and open her arms wide, her entrance
we all waited for and ceremoniously stood up from
our respective couches to kiss her on the cheek, welcoming
her back from the dead of old age. 

This is the first day of giving thanks without her. 
No more worrying about her working left hand
bumping up against mine as we muse over the taste
and saltiness of the meal. We don't get to listen to her
talk about how much her mother loved yeast rolls. We
will sit around tables mutually feeling the loss, the gaping
hole of our ancient left-hander. Our matriarch, nothing
but our words willing her back into life. 

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