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Ode to My Grandmother’s Missing Arm

O Beautiful, Empty Placeholder in faded photographs regal you balance long cigarettes between your fingers like Greta Garbo but you were not there to lift my mother’s veil from her eyes or tie her children’s shoes. When Cancer called to you in the dark, you rose, saying Here I am, send me. When her heart could not pump through the breast, the lump, the tumor, you took it all upon your shoulder. O Absent Appendage of Grace how can I thank you for offering yourself, a sacrifice... Read More

Bejesus

bejesus: by Jesus, an alteration of Jesus Christ; a mild expletive of the temple of the Holy Spirit, e.g. <scare the bejesus out of me>   Sunday morning Grandmother and I walk down the alley to the Pentecostal church. Dust puffs lift from the toes of my shoes, powdery as Grandmother’s talcum. In the children’s room, I play until it’s time to march down the center aisle (the congregation singing “Praise Him All Ye Little Children”) to where she usually sits... Read More

Wasps and Hostile Takeovers

“If you want anything, you’d better get down there now. By tonight everything will be gone. Leroy’s bringing his boys and a dumpster and they’re going to clean the whole place out.” Three days before my father alerted me to the impending blitzkrieg that would soon descend upon my grandmother’s house, Sandy and Chris (my aunt and uncle) had come from South Carolina to take my grandmother back home with them. It was not safe for her to live by herself anymore. A nursing... Read More