Saturdays at Grammy's

We begged Dad to stay home 

The memory of mothballs and butterscotch candy 

Already choking us 

Even a nine and a ten-year-old know

There is a sort of relief 

In shared suffering 

 

Walking through the maple stained front door

Transports you to the sixties

And the seventies

And the eighties

Decades intertwining and creating 

A unique sense of meticulously designed chaos

 

Eyes narrow to the knickknacks on the table 

That we will play with after customary hellos

An array of ceramic houses

Hannah will take the cottage lined with crimson flowers

And I get the mansion with a stationary water wheel

My sister claims she doesn’t need material things

Emersonian ideals at a young age

Visions of dancing in the lamp lit windows

Planning our futures there

While sitting on cigarette smelling shag

 

My Dad’s sister, Auntie Debbie, greets us

A wrinkly Barbie with a boob job and thinning hair 

The smell of nail salon chemicals

Stirs up the must

I compliment her pastel talons 

Its polite to lie

Auntie retreats to her cavern 

With a can of diet coke

Its lined with photos of her as prom queen 

And filled with stuffed animals from former lovers.

 

Grammy shuffles in

Makes a noise dad can replicate perfectly 

She sounds like a happy ghost 

But looks like a sad one

Her hands remind me of wet paper, ready to fall apart

Hannah and I enact our unspoken choreography 

Of being too excited for sloppy dog kisses

And run to the organ next to the knickknacks

To be our own maestros

 

In Grammy’s kitchen 

Hannah and I lick the fruit on the wallpaper

The snozberries do not taste like snozberries

But it tastes better than the slimy sandwich

And freezer burned fudgsicles

That expired in 1998

Her yellow gloves, the same color as her teeth,

Squeak as she does our dishes

Singing gospel hymns to drown us out.

“Little girls shouldn’t make so much noise”

 

Grammy shuffles around in circles 

Wanting to live in our ceramic world with us

We put the houses back in place 

Pausing our possible futures for her

To put together puzzles

The pieces don’t fit finely anymore 

After years of being pushed 

And slammed 

And forced 

Together.

 

This poem is about: 
Me
My family

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