pirate smile

by Amy Turn Sharp


I wonder what my grandmother feels like approaching her 90th birthday.
What does her body feel like and is she scared of being so very old?
Most all of her friends are dead.
She is keenly aware of this as she collects their obituaries
in shoe boxes categorized by year-all the way back to the 1960's.

I am scared of death like every single flipping day.
She just hums and bakes pies and loves Jesus and tells me things are just fine as she traces circles on my hand with her long nails.

In the car a few weeks ago the Athens, Ohio sunlight saturated her skin through the window. She looked so old that she almost looked like a baby.
Her skin is so relaxed and wrinkled that it is as soft as my toddlers.
I had to restrain myself from randomly stroking her.

Tonight on the telephone she told me how she went to The Randys concert last night.
She is 89 and out way more nights a week than me.
Damn.
She talked a whole bunch about the weather and berry picking
and what the women's club made for the July's nursing home craft drop off.
I said "yep"a bunch of times and stared out the kitchen window.

But when she's gone I will miss the nonsensical babble of Kroger's grocery store charging entirely too much for Crisco or the way she calls me Matilda even though she is fully aware that my name is Amy.

Imagine yr on a beach.
Like a good one in California
and the wind is warm with just the touch of cool that you like
and yr tan without it being bad for you
and "Tiny Dancer" is blaring out of waterproof speakers
and yr not worried about anything...
That's the kind of feeling I have with her in my life.