Tough at Ten
Updated: Jan 4, 2022
Amelia, my father's mother,
lived too far from California to be Grandma.
Nebraska's distance stretched her title wider:
But it was into grandma's lap we'd slip
after two thousand miles on our Dodge's hard cushions.
All of ten, I really wanted to check out the bra section.
But excitement was running through me--I just had time
to tear and wipe with that cold, glossy Sears & Roebuck.
Guess uncle James was trying to cool me off
with direct-hit squirts of unpasteurized cow's milk.
Grandma 'Melia handed me towels to dry off,
then a lap-seat show of her photo album.
Even that fading black and white
showed her face in tactile contradiction:
mango fresh cheeks up to the rims
where two coal-rough eyes begin.
She holds her infant sister
one third her size: head above head
with electric fence eyes
daring, "get past here alive!"
"My Lord," I worried even then,
"was she ever given time to be ten?
--Tim Van Ert
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