My hope's a child's. My grandmother
stood over the sink in the summer
morning's south window glow, holding
the rounded box of frozen strawberries
under the faucet's warm rush, her voice
a murmur of pleasure, till she was sure
the insides were thawed enough. Soon,
she'd set the white bowl on the yellow
formica table, the deep red fruit cold,
sliced, ready to lift in the big spoon
from the pool of sweet juice.
This is one
scrap, an age-browned crayoned sheet
tucked in among others—stick-figure
fathers and silvery terriers, thick-outlined
houses, chimneys uncoiling black springs,
smudged tulips, fangs of white fence—
such pages, stuffed in a secret hurry
into the slots between a kid's ribs,
hold up only so well as they're slid
free by these wrinkled hands. See
what I did? Stored the light that poured in
over the rooftops across the alley,
over my grandpop's tomato vines,
in through the kitchen window and lit
my grandmother's cheeks and lips.
documents coming apart as they open
to my stiff fingers, still, I can taste
the strawberries' smooth and sturdy pieces,
hear the tiny surprises of seeds'
crunch in my lost milk teeth, and savor
that rosy nectar. This creaking body's dark
shelves are crammed with a little fool's
crumbling scrolls of love's promise.
True, false—either way, this knowledge,
her soft hand leaving the bowl.