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A Third Poem- Grandmother’s Orchids

Grandmother’s Orchids

Her fingers were always crooked

Bent and twisted, bones protruding at awkward angles

Dipped in wax

She’d let me play too if I did the dishes first


Smelling of sweet menthol

Pale green drops to sooth a ragged throat


I lived with her for the summers

No place left to go


Tissues stuffed in between breasts and bra and shirt

Sitting on a porch that housed orchids on tepid plastic lunch trays


The orchids bloomed every few months

“That’s special,” she’d say.

Shoots green and strong springing up from darker, thicker leaves

skinny, bending roots curving in and out of terracotta planters

Intertwining with each other, almost touching each other across the distance

Trying to form some kind of chain


She’d gingerly pour water onto the rocks lining the tray underneath the roots

“To help with the humidity, you see,” she’d say.


Chinese Checkers

She’d play with me when the boredom became unbearable

Four channels were never enough


Grumbling–she’d push out the metal board with the rolling marbles

all colors because the good ones were lost.


Sometimes I would sit on the porch and stare at the orchids buds pushing open

towards the sunlight, leaning into the moisture

My fingers grazed the soft petals

And she swiped my hand “You’ll break them,” she’d say.

I ‘d draw my hand away, curl my fingers towards my palm and go back to the room

with four channels, away from the porch, on the side of the house, not near the sun

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