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Erika Castaldo Dec 2015
In the small kitchen,
A toddler sits near the window,
Laughing at the older woman across
The pile of cards at the table’s center.

The girl is older now,
Pink hair and heavy makeup
Playing a game of rummy with her
Grandmother, who looks at her with only pride.

The older woman’s hair is streaked with gray,
The girl has traded her colored hair
For black and her makeup is simple.
She has moved on to playing Poker.

The table is a mess of wedding magazines and notebooks,
The girl holds one of the magazines in her left
Hand, diamond glistening as her grandmother
Smiles to herself from behind a notebook.

The grandmother wears a lavender dress
As she fixes the girls veil.
The girl is fussing with the bouquets
Of flowers that cover the table.

The old woman sits alone at the
Table in front of a computer,
The girl is chatting excitedly,
Palm trees visible in the background.

They both sit at the table
More serious than ever as the
Girl’s hand rests on her bulging stomach.

She wears a suit while she sits
By the window, a pink car seat
Rests on the table in front of her.

The grandmother is small and shaking
With every hand she puts down.
The girl has cut her hair shorter than ever,
The same color as that of the little girl
Sitting on her lap and toying with cards.

The girl sits alone at the table,
Her eyes red and puffy from crying,
Knuckles white from clutching her cell phone
And a crib rests next to the chair.

The table is covered in flowers and gifts.
It’s surrounded by sobbing people in black.
The girl does not cry as she fixes her daughter’s
Hair by the window.
Erika Castaldo Dec 2015
I remember it so clearly,
The dark oak of the table,
The smell of her cigarette smoke.
We would sit every night and play
500 Rummy.

Then she started to get weaker.
I would watch in horror
As my grandmother’s hands shook
With every set she put down.

The oak table turned to the
Bland plastic of the one in the hospital
And her cigarettes were replaced with
An IV and an oxygen tank.

The next night
I sat in the living room,
Glaring at the empty table
And the unopened pack of cards.
They mocked me.

I dressed in black today,
When everyone tossed dirt
I tossed an Ace of Spades
And an old Zippo.

— The End —