Your whiskers rub against my face
As I go in for a hug,
The day old beard a
Speckled grey and white.
I sit on the floor at your feet
Rubbing the spit from my cheek,
Your kisses still slobbery after all these years.
I hear Nannie singing in the kitchen
Making your coffee –
Black, weak –
Diluted with water and nuked
For 30 seconds in the old microwave
She got for a steal at the flea market.
It’s one of her favorites,
A hymnal, like always…
Singing about having a friend in Jesus.
I see her stand beside you –
Short to your tall,
Round to your lanky…
Hair died as black as night
Courtesy of Miss Clairol.
You’re fussing with her,
But I can’t hear –
The words drowned out by the old westerns
Blaring from the TV just a few feet away.
I play on the floor, leaned against the recliner
You call your home, and flip through
The giant bible on the coffee table.
My fingers trace over the names
And birthdays of all the kids,
I find Mom’s at the bottom,
The youngest of nine.
The handwriting careful, unconfident…
I remember the stories you told me
About living in the Great Depression,
About how schooling was important –
Just like working hard and being honest.
Your warm hand sits on my shoulder,
Eager to show me the Indian on TV.
There they are, on your western channel
Matching the pair tucked in the corner –
Those glass Indians staring back at us.
‘There’ you say, ‘look!’
And I look, because it makes you smile.