Grandmother never cooked pudding
or bottled jam from berry bushes.
She made heartier dishes
and consoled me mostly
with brown hands aged with weather
and the soft folds of time.
She moved her solid bulk gracefully
and caught butterflies when they lighted
on flowers she had planted
then gently released them
between her thumb and forefinger
rubbing the perfumed powder of their wings
upon her apron.
Her dresses smelled of spices
and vegetable stews
and the house of clear, clean ammonia.
I’d watch her braid
the thick plaits of hair
wrapping them tightly around her head
with simple eyes
pulled quarters from my ears
with magical ease
and let me plod along with tiny bare feet
in his great shoes.
With bones expanded and grown adept
I moved on,
the ground soft
with the footprints I have left
where rain will fall.
There will be puddles where I stood.
First published in INNER SANCTIONS 1979