Thursday, February 16, 2017

With Her Own Hands

from her new home
in her new town
my friend describes the fruit trees
in her back yard

when she's hungry
(she writes)
she picks an apple
or a pear
sometimes both —
with her own hands

i can hear the excitement in her head
as she puts these words on paper —
she underlines them

she imagines this makes the fruit sweeter
and for all i know
it does

i always thought anything my grandma made
with her own hands
was better than anything i made
better even than what
my mother made

a sandwich let's say
layer upon layer
of cheese tomato lettuce

or best of all
French toast
both sides dipped in milky egg
fried and flipped and fried some more

grandma's hands pat-patting the bread
here and here and here
as it browned

okay my friend has pear trees
and she loves the fruit
and i am happy to receive her letter

the envelope has
a postage stamp
i haven't seen before

no one in my entire city has used this stamp yet

and i like this friend
i really do
i like her so much

i'm happy to think of her
lifting her hands to
pull down fruit from trees
in her very own backyard

but now i have to
put on my boots
and my hat
and my gloves

(where is my scarf?

didn't i put it in my coat pocket?
why isn't it there?)

it's time to go out
with the yellow-handled shovel
and move snow from one side
of the sidewalk to the other

i don't want to think about my friend's
warm sun-speckled hands
picking fruit

but i do want to think about
my grandma
and the French toast

the way she cut it into squares
arranging them neatly on a small round plate

her right hand
moving everything closer to me

her left hand resting
just for a second
on top of my head