She tucked me into bed,
wrapped me in
an age-worn quilt
and I slept like the baby I nearly was.
When I woke,
I pulled the quilt around me
and tiptoed across the old wood floors
covered with braided rugs.
Rubbing sleep from my eyes,
I entered the kitchen
and watched her sitting at the farm table,
with a cup of steaming coffee, slicing a wild peach.
Her hands were still strong then;
and even now I never see a peach,
smell one, taste one,
without thinking of her.
She laughed, her mellow way, eyes crinkling,
when I said how much I liked the sweetness
but not the fuzzy skin which poked
like a prickly moustache against my mouth.
Overheard her saying, later
that she ‘got tickled’
when I’d said the pigs rooting in the pen
looked like they had ribbons in their tails.
When I’d trailed her
to the rabbit cages
and saw a mama rabbit
eat her own baby
she didn’t shield me
from the horror of it,
but let me ask the hard questions
and answered them, best she knew.
‘Fascinating’ is what I’d called it,
when asked about it back home.
And she was, too,
though I never said it.
Except at the cemetery overlooking the river
when I wished her back
to see me enjoy the sweetness in my life,
to bring lightness when it poked;
and because the questions
have only gotten harder.
But mostly, to hear her ‘tickled’ laughter
one more time.
Copyright 2012 Jennifer Wagner
For Grandma. Rest in peace, we so often rested in yours.