Posts Tagged ‘Phoenix’

When I rinse a jar, I think of her

When I hear the word penuche

When my mother says “I’m just going

to doctor this up,” my grandmother

becomes present

When I make a German’s Chocolate

cake for my son and I can see

her handwriting in the recipe

I’ve scrawled from her

When I fail to make the perfect

pie crust, because no one can

crimp like her

When I receive mail addressed

to my husband, but with a Mrs.

in front of his name, I know

my grandmother approves

When I bowl or when I think

of bowling, I remember Grandma

and Grandpa with their bowling bags

and their league

When I see a Chihuahua or smell

the scent of Phoenix after the rain

I think of Grandma and remember

how she painted the outside of her

house with a two-inch brush

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They didn’t tell me, when I moved to Phoenix

that I would have to bring my own water.

That was OK, of course, since I’d been born in Chicago

and had the entire Lake Michigan at my disposal.

My parents still live in a hut

in Saugatuak. I ask them to send my share

of the Great Lake, my birthright,

in individual plastic bottles.

It comes by train. My wrist is sore

from cap-twisting and though I only take

sips, the ounces last for barely an hour.

Some days even I,

as I lie in February, under my blossoming

bougainvillea, listening to the freeway

moan along without me,

dream of the lake’s sandy beaches

that take up the even snow.

With Gary, Indiana to my back,

Milwaukee, Wisconsin to my front,

the white smoothes me plain.

The snow snows there in three full

states, maybe more. The snow has flattened my

Chicago like it flattened the whole

Midwest but thanks to that one-note

frozen landscape, I reach across whole

states and across them my visibly wet breath.

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