With her smooth-edged index finger nail
and calloused thumb, my grandmother picked
invisible threads from the hem of my uniform skirt,
dropped them in a tiny pile
then passed a longer thread through a needle,
stabbed and pulled a wide tacking stitch,
finger joints swollen like newel post knobs.
Although she lived one thousand miles away
she was faintly annoyed without a chore to do.
My mother, now her age, did not learn to sew.
Today I woke her from her nap, asked
how she slept. Did I nap, she said while perched
on the side of the bed, I don’t remember. Oh
I’m thinking about Bernie, oh everything,
then looked past the top of my head into space.
I will take her to Hoffman’s Nursery where
she’ll thread her walker between the wooden planks
bowed with annual flats wide as stripes
in a victory flag, pull up beside the pump,
and with help turn around in the gravel aisle.
When I lean down to adjust the brakes, she’ll
twine her arms around my neck,
relieved to feel a texture she recalls.