You kept that head of thick cotton wool
until your dying day, though the red-bobble
earrings sat back in your room, dancing for no one.
And who could tell, under your saggy chins or
those pretty silken jowls, stretched by a life of wily smiles,
if Grandpa Louie’s gold-tooth choker was still above your heart.
Your tennis-balled walker was missing, too, and that
hobbling waddle all your own, the senior samba echoed
in our little Sara, when her diaper drooped between her knees.
How you made us laugh, before you lost your voice
and put away your bawdy quips and hula grinds made famous when
you danced to Tiny Bubbles and pinched Chuck Barris after the gong.
Those dirty jokes you told to daughter Bertie’s deep chagrin
would never fill another awkward pause at family brunch
or leave strangers spluttering Wood eye? Wood eye? anymore.
The last time I saw you, Grandma Sara, you were as soft and
pink as the bundled newborn I placed on your wheelchair tray
to cuddle and kiss-a-belly and feel the tender glee of being
held (though we didn’t know it) a final time and loved.