Helping my grandma take down Christmas decorations,
I help her sit and grab water as she places a soft hand
Over her heart. On the drive down, we are reminded
How we need to keep her in good spirits,
How we need her alive. When we arrive, I hug
Her extra long. I let go- I can tell she’s in pain.
I try to be good.
I try and sometimes I’m enough, usually adequate.
Someone is almost always better. So- I love my grandma
The most and hold her the longest and let her teach
me to play cards while everyone is sleeping.
She tells me how she was a hand model
and Miss Air Force Runner-up. How my mom
was trouble from the time she was born.
She tells me my soul felt familiar the minute
we met. She’d rock me all night,
but I’d stay awake, exploring and watching.
Now I am tired.
She can’t walk upstairs to her bed anymore.
She didn’t tell me this, but I can see.
The couch she sleeps on has a texture-smooth
and slightly tacky from her hairspray. I hate animal
Documentaries but she doesn’t know this. We watch
Them together most nights. My head is getting too heavy
For her lap. She doesn’t tell me this, but I can tell
By the way she inhales sharply when I’m drifting off
To sleep. So, with our mostly quiet bodies we watch-
The sunset over the Sahara and penguins shuffling
In their circles. She cries when elephants are born.
The African Bush elephant carries the calf for two
Years, and when it’s time for things to be undone,
They fall apart. And we weep.
Lucy Somers is a Midwestern poet who is deeply inspired by her natural surroundings and familial bonds. Common themes in her work are: grief, connection, and coming of age.