When the Grandmother Dies

Fady Joudah

it'll be kept secret
from her four daughters

who'll be flying in
from three different countries

after years of absence
reunion ends



When the grandmother dies

it'll ruin summertime
for the grandkids who

in their mothers' grief will eat
okra each day

fresh & leftover
till it tastes like ash




When the grandmother dies

the groundskeeper will beg for cash
he comforts her he'll say

& the sisters
will reply

Were it not for you
the dead would have died

More by Fady Joudah

The Mind in State

Does consciousness exist only when
you name it?  Was the double helix a
stranger, the nucleus the  first brain?
I feel  therefore I am.  This  is  more
peptide than pep-talk. The tongueless
mood is sticking its tongue out at us.
The mountian  wool is  shaved into
vineyards. Without other there is no
self & and we are not always other of
other selves. Is the moon a self, is
wine or grape? The body & the as-if
body, taking time taste waking slow
rain healing grass.

Anonymous Song

When the shooting began
Everyone ran to the trucks
Grabbed whatever their backs needed
And made for the trucks
Except K

And they begged him to get on
The ones who ran to the trucks
But he refused them all

Later they found him
On the road running
And howling and still
He refused them all
Since he knew
His legend would grow

Then sightings began
He was clothed or naked
Cooking or sleeping
Eating or drinking what
The others gave him

And their begging remained the same
The trucks going loaded
Then coming back empty the same
Until it was forgotten
When K had first lost his mind

Before the shooting started
Or much worse after

One thing for sure
K is real
Safe and sweet especially
Holding a baby to sleep
Or asking for a sip of your Fanta
Or calling out your name from where

You cannot see him 

Tuesday

Days been dark
don’t say “in these dark days”
done changed my cones and rods

Sometimes I’m the country
other times the countryside

I put my clothes back on
to take them off again

Related Poems

My Grandmother's White Cat

	When fiber-optic, sky blue hair became the fashion, my father began the 
monthly ritual of shaving his head. It was August, and we were still living in the 
Projects without a refrigerator. The sound of my mother fluttering through the 
rosaries in another room reminded me of the flies I'd learned to trap in mid-
flight and bring to my ear.
	"Vecchio finally died," my father said, bending to lace his old boots. "You 
want to come help me?"
	My grandparents lived in a green-shingled house on the last street before 
the Jones & Laughlin coke furnaces, the Baltimore & Ohio switching yard, and 
the sliding banks of the Monongahela. The night was skunk-dark. The spade 
waited off to the side.
	Before I could see it, I could smell the box on the porch.
	We walked down the tight alley between the houses to get to the back yard 
where fireflies pushed through the heat like slow aircraft and tomato plants hung 
bandaged to iron poles. My father tore and chewed a creamy yellow flower from 
the garden.
	After a few minutes of digging, he said, "Throw him in."
	I lifted the cardboard box above my head, so I could watch the old white 
cat tumble down, a quarter moon in the pit of the sky.