Glass Indians


Doc and Kay Fortson

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,

The grandkids.

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.


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