TAKE ONCE DAILY
is how these pills smell,
how I know they are
quickly into I am going
to get better. Just think
of all the bread I’ll bake!
Loaves in the oven rising,
wisp of flour on my cheek.
It’s like a movie, this
world where I stay, hands
making a song of wellness.
In the future I change
my sheets on the regular
because I love myself
the power of washing.
A Little Less
I love one of my grandmas
a little less than the other
because she never wrote me birthday cards,
never sent crisp ten dollar bills or said I love you
forty times a day (or ever) like I’ve been taught
to need to hear. I love her a little less
because she never offered to babysit, never
made me schnitzel in a cast iron pan, always
went out dancing & drinking when my father was young,
leaving him at home to be watched by brothers who kicked him
& pushed him down a hill & a sister who chain-smoked
at the table, all coiled in phone cord.
& because she refuses to call my mother
by the right last name.
Now, she is smaller than I
remember. Her back is beginning
to curl like the top of a question mark, the way
the backs of all women eventually do.
Her suit is the most striking shade of purple
like how my thighs bruise when I try to carry
all the things I own.
I think of the last time we were in a room together,
the family reunions she used to organize
at the hotel by the interstate. Dollar-store Christmas
gifts, smoke thick as morning fog.
Distant cousins in a swarm call her Granny,
a name I can’t seem to make fit
in my mouth. She is frail & crying & I hear her
say she hasn’t been sleeping
since the son she loves a little more than the others
(because he mowed her lawn & drove long-haul trucks
& took her side in the divorce) is gone now.
She says cancer like his wife’s name, or rather,
says Karen like its root is cancer.
The cancer trimmed all his fat, left him
muted & sunken, like a soccer ball with no air.
I see his face in pictures & think of my father,
shocked by the sudden twin that sickness made.
My grandma doesn’t like to look at my father
because he looks too much like his father, & now,
his brother, too. I love her a little less for this,
but still hold the stem of her body close
on the church steps as the summer sun is setting
so long I stop counting.