She was always calling Grandpa a jerk
so we used that to show her what a thesaurus was:
“A fool. A nothing. A nobody.”
My grandpa didn’t think this was funny, but my mom and I did.
Gramma didn’t really think he was a jerk. It was just a thing she said
like when people say other things they don’t mean like
“literally,” “cute shoes,” and
“I think it’s fine.”
“I think it’s fine”
she said about her cough, even though
it sounded so not fine that it made me cringe
the way people cringe when they bite aluminium foil.
She did go to the doctor and
she did get an oxygen tank and
she did not ever stop telling us
what we did wrong in the kitchen.
Only thirty-five years ago
she was fishing in the Keys,
pulling her line out of the clear,
green water of the Florida Bay.
Only thirty-five months ago
she was shuffling coupons like a Vegas dealer,
poring over the circulars to find what was cheap
instead of what was needed.
Only thirty-five days ago
she was watching her family discuss her health,
huddled like a football team
reviewing the world’s most solemn play.
Only thirty-five minutes ago
I was thinking I still had one last grandma,
reading and humming and
living without something missing for a final half hour.