by Ellen Stone
–after the composition by John Adams
Light off the swamp, even in December.
Tracks in the coyote snow.
Shale cliff edge, or rooted borrow.
Granny’s ghost at my shoulder
tsking at the whiskey in her cupboard.
She has been crossing the same threshold
at Christmas for twenty years.
Once a cherry table filled with goose,
duck, pies. Mother ferried the food in.
Grandpa’s visage at the head, Granny
clucking approval. Quiet dog underfoot.
Funny what death can bring,
us turning into the lost mother, caring
for ourselves. But who will be
the grandparents? Father left silent.
More howling now, less hymns.
Coyotes chanting, dogs chained.
Some things even Granny can’t foretell.
Ellen Stone teaches at Community High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Her poems have appeared lately in Passages North, The Collagist, The Citron Review and Fifth Wednesday. Michigan Writers’ Cooperative Press published Ellen’s chapbook, The Solid Living World. Her poetry has recently been nominated for a Pushcart prize and twice for Best of the Net.