Grandma, Half-Underwater

Late in life she lived as a lagoon’s only human
among monsters she half-recognized. To visit
was a kind of drowning– submerged in nursing
home fluorescents of nursing half-breathing,
I asked Mom who am I talking to?
Her eyes asked the same.

I guess all of us,
none of us glad
we came, we had to,
wanted to, really,
despite grandma’s face
cloudwhite, going
there knowing her
soon to swim the
wispy ocean of
afterlife– that, at
least, we wanted
to believe, to see her
again the way she
would want to be seen,
not now like this

(originally published in The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Fall 2018)

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