Suggesting that I get the shotgun
to shoot down Grandmother's ideals,
Grandfather told me how his father
demonstrated that women were fools-
why, if he dangled his foot out the window
for ten minutes, he'd have a woman
like a ring circling every toe.
Grandfather's cynicism reflected in his limp,
his hip displaced in a branding accident
years before-fitting, he said,
for this world of spawning-ditch and boneyard.
I'd seem him cry twice, first at my wedding-
he caught a cold, he said-
nothing about the course of married love
could make him tearful-
and again at my grandmother's funeral:
guarding himself like a watchdog,
he muttered, "Poor Mom,
someday we'll be together again."
No one expected Grandmother
to leave first:
like the wheat,
she would show fresh,
green shoots each fall.
Every winter Grandfather said that
he wouldn't see the violets that
would in spring put up their heads.
Her nerves reacting,
Grandmother increased her pace,
her hands ever-flying.
After her death from cancer
that rooted in the thigh,
I dreamed a rolling field
where Grandmother-her hair waves of gold again,
her eyes shining as Colorado sky-
sat, laughing quietly.
"I guess I'll have to learn
to get things right," she said,
her hands at last sparrows
that had come to roost,
her warmth the fragrance
of fresh-baked bread.