the women in my family watch each other die
it's their way- spoon feeding water dropping withering, hand holding
until the other side, the last chest heave,
the men go quick, burn out like sparklers, drop dead of red meat half way
through their 50th birthday party. the women are
we sodden our wicks with bitterness, we nurse our resentful love
lika a 14$ Chelsea cocktail.
the women in my family feed themselves to their children, they break off bread crumbs
each morning, they whittle proverbial pieces of bark, the giving tree
no one had to ask for.
my grandmother was the wicked witch
in the bedtime stories my mother would tell-
all swirling green smoke and broaches as big as poison apples, kept one
of her 6 dwarves locked in the garage, my uncle
still remembers the chain, my mother still
wears her's, golden with a crucifix
that she climbed right up on and starting pouring wine glasses
from her wrist, you know, she always was
a great hostess.
my mother and my grandmother are vastly different people, one hollowed her limbs just to
keep her babies warm
and the other ate hers.
smoked a pack a day for 40 years, she tucked herself into a bed of wriggling snakes- stress, anxiety, and a
fiber pill each morning, my mother has done everything in her power
to hurry this process along, i know she does not want to pass her dying down to me like a precious moment's figurine, she does not want
ice cubes to lips, she once told me that she made my grandmother
tilapia filets for lunch, each day, at the end of it. I remember
an old Volkswagen, the red cellophane, and the old woman like
a kraken poised in a hospital bed, "it's overdone, Karen, I swear it's like you're stupid".
I never understood why we kept visiting
a note to my future daughter: your grandmother was a saint, martyr and all, i love you too much
to ask the same.