Home at my Grandma’s

Werner and I stole Grandma’s Chesterfields

But we couldn’t smoke them in the living room

Where Jesus Christ with His flaming heart bared

Looked at you accusingly

From His perch over the ebony couch.

The next room would have been all right

Had Grandpa not stocked it with Mardi Gras supplies —

Feather boas, gold cardboard crowns, masks and beads and magic–

All highly flammable, and too much fun to jeopardize.

Our Aunt Aurora’s room had a sink

Useful if we lost control of the matches

And Grandma’s room was full of filled ashtrays,

So a couple more butts could go undetected.

The dining room was off limits.

Too much activity there.

Too much cooking and cleaning and snacking,

Too many adults stopping by for a cup of cafe con leche

And sitting at the big black table for hours

Criticizing the golden children

Whom grandma was spoiling to death.

There wasn’t a maid in the maid’s room

But that’s where the pit bull lived

And we sure wouldn’t go to the kitchen

Where Aurora would cook day and night

On her ancient gas stove

In her cast iron pans.

Werner and I eyed the atrium.

Surely, two six year olds could hide

Behind the potted palms

That sat drying out in the sunlight!

We went out there with Grandma’s Chesterfields,

Lit them up and puffed.

We coughed and cried and sputtered, and made such a ruckus

That Grandma came running and found us,

Not sorry we’d been bad

Quite sorry we’d been caught.

She dragged us to the bathroom and brushed our teeth,

Then sat us both in the dining room and gave us homemade ice cream

Because spoiling us was her joy.

2 thoughts on “Home at my Grandma’s

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