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Grandmother, Charlottesville

ISSUE:  Spring 2010

Poor thing, I see you just one step outside
That smooth cruel paradise, a lumpy bag
In either hand, a hill to climb, a hot
Small house to get to, half an hour from here,

The air grown fat and sweaty everywhere,
But talk won’t make it any easier,
Won’t make old feet go any faster, no,
Won’t make wild sun slide right behind that hill

A moment sooner than God wants it to:
My Grandma would have said the same, you know,
Two bags hard dragging on her wrists, her dog
Fat in her shopping basket, tongue all loose,

And unforgiving London with its ice,
Its big-mouthed blast of wind around her throat,
As she came up the Heathway, pulling hard,
With something on the tip of her dry tongue,

Something she thought to say to her old man,
When he got home that night, but very late,
Smelling of railway oil and pipe smoke, yes,
One step from doing better, just one step.


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