Sunday, April 29, 2012


I've written better poems, but this one is a milestone for me.  I haven't been able to write about my grandma's illness up until now.  This is without the edits and suggestions from my classmates.

She wasn’t born this way,
my grandmother,
water trying to drown her brain,
shrinking her lower to the ground,
embarrassing her, she says.
She wasn’t like this when I was a child,
slow-moving, forgetting and twisting
words, ingredients.  She was forceful, 
smashing potato bugs with knotty fingers, 
sweating in the garden, thanking precious 
Jesus for each breeze.
She used to know every bird by song,
quiz me on them.
Whippoorwill, Cardinal, Killdeer.
Now she asks me to slow down while I’m 
We filled birdbaths and plastic jugs
with metallic well water,
the way her body fills her brain.
We got chicks at the post office in spring
and mucked the barn and coops in our rubber 
shoe covers every humid summer.
I moved to a bigger city and she fell 
on her way to feed turkeys.
Perhaps thats when she smashed the dam
holding the water at bay, 
keeping it from flooding her brain.
I try to remember how she was
when she didn’t need indifferent doctors 
with accents and possible solutions. 
I try not to forget
she wasn’t born this way.


  1. Kayla, that's so sad and haunting and lovely. I really like it.

  2. Thank you. You know how much your compliments mean to me, especially on writing. :)

  3. This is a beautiful poem, and that last stanza is especially powerful. I can tell that your grandmother means a lot to you.