Outside the Mercedarian Mission Home

She watches planes take off from the city

airport, shoot out from the edge of the high

rise like they were birthed on the 19th floor.


She’s parked uphill, watches the edges around

the nursing home where her grandmother is

preparing to breathe her last. She’s only been


in one time, the grandmother’s daughter chasing

her out, like she can’t see what death looks like

when she only has to count the syringes in the gutter.


Another plane heads south and she remembers how

the woman inside, the one of the styled white hair,

the seamed nylons carefully washed with ice cubes


to prevent runs, and patent leather purses, put her up

when she fled home to defy conventions and dared to

ride the city buses to college. How this grandmother


come nightfall, would pleasantly announce that she was

no longer to be bothered, having her prayers to say.

How she would unbundle her assorted cards from


wakes and memorials, their yellowed edges frayed,

slip the rubber bands onto her tiny wrists and begin

to whisper softly through them, assured that every


remembrance would leave the tiny apartment

for someplace beyond the reeking sycamores

and diesel smog.  They ate sandwiches in the


semi-darkness some evenings, lights kept off to

stay a bit cooler as the summer sweltered. And

now it’s come to this, sitting outside in the old


Chevy Nova waiting on the lot of them to decide

to make peace. She talks to the little girl in the

back seat and they pretend they’re on a plane.