In Remembrance of My Grandmother

She barely smiled

but when she did

it was like she smiled

for all of us, all at once

She sequestered herself

away from the world outside

her humble home

soon after my grandfather died

I never met him

but she made him come alive to me

with stories of his exquisite chivalry

His portrait sat on the table

beside where Grandma sat

to fold the laundry and fine linen

Each fold she made

was purposeful

and perfectly aligned

her wrinkled hands

caressed the fabric

with great tenderness

a pillow case could not

possibly appreciate

I felt her love

one day

when she gently brushed

my hair for the first time

(I could remember)

and wrapped it in a bun.

She told extraordinary stories

about her childhood, my grandfather

and the things that according to her

every girl should know

about life in general.

She smoked cigars

which I found unreal

but she did it with the grace

of a queen.

What I remember most

is her love for her pets

although not the traditional

dog or cat.

She raised chickens and hens, and roosters

gave them all names at that

Had short conversations with them every day

about the weather and what was on her mind

Then on any given day

at any given time

when she felt they were fat enough

she’d decide

to cook one of them

for us to dine.

As I remember the many conversations I had

with my beloved grandmother

we all called Mita

and do not ask me why

I think about

the things that my grand children

will remember about me after I have died.

I hope Mita knows how

much she influenced

me as a storyteller and poet.

I could almost see her smile.

and once again it warmed my heart

because when she smiled

it was like she smiled for all of us.

*My grandmother passed away 37 years ago.

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