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.