I’m convinced that if you could
have seen my grandmother
standing in the doorway
waiting for him to come home from the fields,
if you’d smelled that spectacular evening thick
with sweat & felt the pulsing of the stars, if
you’d borne witness
to the animals’ moans echoing in the holler
that night, if you just could have seen the
hair rise up
on granddaddy’s arm like that, like
offerings to god, when his elbow touched
hers, if you could have seen
her longing dissipate just a little as he came
through the door smelling like a day’s work, you
should have seen them close enough to breathe
the same air while not even touching.
(He smiled at her without smiling.) If you could
have seen them watching me watch them, then
you’d know how much i love you. If you could
have heard her say, You want some supper?
We got pie.

Copyright © 2022 by Crystal Wilkinson. From Perfect Black (University Press of Kentucky Press, 2021). Used with the permission of the poet.