my grandmother always
had goolash and buttered bread,
green beans and mashed potatoes
waiting on Sunday afternoons after church
when my parents with us drove the 80 miles to visit.
That playground was across the street
and a pump stood in the backyard.

But change happens.

That playground is gone
and she lives in an apartment that can’t compete
with the old living room’s gas heater,
a bedroom with curtains for doors,
and an upstairs that allowed the Baileyville
winter winds to creep through its walls
beginning in November.
That house has been replaced,
a new one stands on its legs.

Mrs. Koch, the original,
is quiet and enduring.
I see her in me every so often
when someone tries to tell me what to do,
to dictate to me,
to offer negativity to those I love.
I see the stubborn
I see her spark
generosity unappreciated,
and pride immense.

The scope of her character
maybe even we can’t grasp.

How does one
become so beautiful?

I always thought of my grandmother
as a great pillar, poised for others,
firm and able to hold herself against
the greatest forces thrown,
even hurled at her, during this lifetime.
She is a worrier
without the tears.

I always thought my grandfather,
fixed and defiant in his own right I’m told,
was a lucky man to have been loved by her.

I always have
and I always will.


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