To Grandma Neva
Your hands are knotted and bent, skin like dappled
litmus stretched across the arches of knuckles rising
like the Sierra Nevadas from pinkie to pointer.
You turn your wrist to reveal the Rook card in your hand,
raise your eyebrows like two parentheses capsized, Smile.
I know you came to my son last night. In his dream.
I wanted to know what you said to him. To receive a
message from the other side. I asked him again and again
until finally his four-year-old heart shaped the answer
that suited him. “She said, ‘Heaven is great,'” he told me
with a perfectly straight face. And her eyes were very big.
How long is a life, I want to ask him. Though this is the very
question he posed to me just last week. When I stop breathing
will I die, he wanted to know. I lied and said he would never die,
would never stop breathing, and wrapped my arms so tightly around him
I was able to embrace myself. So you visited. And you didn’t speak.
My son has always loved you best. You. Best. You moved toward him,
touched his face with the backs of those spidery fingers and left. Me.