When the Grandmother Dies

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


Copyright © 2013 by Fady Joudah. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on March 8, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

"This poem was composed on a cellphone text message. Each section is exactly 160 characters long according to text message parameters. The poem is part of a book-long thread, titled Textu, forthcoming from Copper Canyon press in e-format, in which all the poems were composed as text messages of exactly 160 characters long." —Fady Joudah