My grandma sat beside the stove and slope-rimmed scuttle
Enveloped in a wooden rocker and an Afghan shawl or throw.
Her hair was black as coal. And always was.
Her legs were saplings clothed in sagging, heavy
Opaque, and with a hint of orange.
And on her feet, a pair of leather lace up shoes.
Thick heeled and made for sturdy work.
A shoe as sensible as she.
Her housedress hosted tiny, faded violets;
It was a dress she might have made.
Or worn forever.
On every lintel was a
Withered palm or two
With dust and dancing doily webs ensconced.
And nearby, pale Jesus, limp upon a cross with crown of thorns
And frightening hearts of red with spikes and barbs
And shooting gamma rays like something science fiction.
It was all mystery
To my untrained soul.
She never weighed but 90 pounds,
I heard the grownups say.
As if that were achievement
And not result of orphan deprivation.
I caught her once late night
A nip of liquor in her hand
It’s for my heart she said. Medicinal.
I learned so few things from her
That was one