I watch my mom pull newspaper bags over
my grandma’s swollen once-feet bottoms,
Grandma’s mouth bleeding, chapped,
I hear Mom wince.
She is so tiny.
Everyone shrinks in hospital beds
chemo chairs. Mom reads Rebecca.
My aunt reads a real-life crime book.
I read a collection of Sedaris-approved authors’ short stories.
I grab Grandma a People. Her thumb
is too pointy with arthritis but she tries to look
like she’s reading, I guess.
For a minute.
While the guy next to us (Papaw
to a student of mine) sasses the nurse:
LET ME GO HOME! LISA, LET ME GO HOME!
Tired eyes bloody mouths chapped lips pointy thumbs—
why endure it?
I decide to drive up some sibling rivalry
instead of feeling sad.
Smiles at last.
about the author
Shannon Kallmeyer is a local English and drama teacher/mother of two.