where she was

across from the park
that has hosted hundreds
of our family gatherings
birthday cakes and boardgames
rollerblades and skateboards

the large, rectangular, boring
1970s building on the corner
of warner and euclid
is where i last saw her

fifteen summers have passed
since she drew her last breath
on a hospital bed
on the day i thought
she was coming home

at thirteen years old
i thought that coming home
meant that she was better

now i realize that it meant
there was little else to be done
for her eighty-nine-year-old body
whose bones which had been
rattled by the sound of bombs
so many times over
her rough hands which had
drawn life from earth on two continents
she had worked enough
and more

she wanted to be home
in her own bed
for her last moments

i walked numbly into that
ugly building and
at the sight of her,
face quiet, surrounded,
tears and sobbing and hands
grasping at her last warmth,
i knew my first heart break

i treasure that fissure
where my heart cracked
for the first time

it has been a long time
since i last lit incense for
my grandmother

i look at the sky
and remember her
offer her words i am sure
she understands by now