Gram

poem & photo by Elizabeth

DREAMING OF GRAM

It was the way her eyes rolled 

as she flashed her pack of cigarettes
while I was explaining the impact of 

environmental illness, as if anyone who 
acknowledged the body’s needs, who didn’t 

do what they wanted despite physical 
limitations, was a whiney little roach

as evidenced in her smoking while sporting
an oxygen tank for advanced-stage emphysema—

I’d had it with the family code of fuck-your-body-
till-it-drops exemplified by our matriarch so I

got in her emerald eye-shadowed face framed with
brilliant orange hair and said: I don’t like you and if you 

want me to feel anything positive about you when you die, 
you need to demonstrate a shred of decency now

then I stepped to the other side of the bed.

Perhaps she rose from where she’d 
crouched between bed and wall and left, 

but for me, she disappeared.

Thank you to the editors of riverbabble for first publishing this poem.