"My Dead Grandmother" - David Noah


 

"My Dead Grandmother" - David Noah

 
My dead grandmother spears a piece of potato
and demands I interpret her dream
or she wont leave the table.
 
I twist in my seat, look under the tablecloth,
peer over my shoulder at the dining room mirror,
and search my hands for a sign of a sign.

I havent touched the chicken on my plate, even though Im hungry.
Im hungry,I tell her.  So am I,  says she, but in the dream
I was in the old old well, deeper than the water,

deeper than the roots, playing a mouth harp
and spitting snuff juice into a can.  Let me tell you,
it aint easy to synchronize those two.

But what do I know?  At the time, I was covered in mouse feathers. 
What do you make of that?  She spits in her can like a pro.
I dont answer because my chicken is playing the mouth harp.

Maybe the ceiling is growing closer.
In my dream,she says, Im not a person.
Im sunlight in a dress hanging on a backyard line.

But she doesnt say this, its her teeth talking,
rattling on the saucer where they rest.
They smile like the dickens and shine like gold.

It means,I say, reaching for the potatoes,
that life is short and full of sadness.
No it doesnt,she replies, and pours her glass of wine

straight onto the floor like a bad-tempered child.
Go home,I cry, and fling a roll at her gray head.
She laughs, or her teeth do, and I realize

she will never leave my table.
I pour her another glass of wine,
directly onto the floor to save time,

and tell the chicken to shut up.
I dreamed,I say, of waking.

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