When my grandmother died they laid her out
In the dusty, hazy, winter lit bedroom of her house.
The air moved in clouds around the family
Milling around noiselessly.
So we could bend and kiss her goodbye
They lined us up in one long row,
Determined by sex, age and family hierarchy.
Serpentine sprawl through
Long corridors lit by small monkeys
With torches for arms and watchful eyes.
I felt small
Smaller than my skin too loose over my knees my patent leather shoes like boats
With water in them sloshing my feet down the hall
Snaking through these old rooms a lavender tail
Swishing through a chamber lit by God’s spotlight,
The bed, a throne.
I moved out of my body and floated above the bed
Wanting to spit on her face.
Looking down I saw the gleam of her scalp through
Her fine silver hair and one small, daring, ant weaving its own path.
I took out her hairpins and shook her head
Tossing it for her
Cut the laces on her shoes and threw them
One by one
Out the window
And she rose and danced with me.
Danced like a wood nymph
Waved and bounced her dress a curtain that opened to me.
I saw her sorrow, her joy.
I kissed her hand like a butterfly would
And sent her on her journey.