to my grandmother, nanji


in autumn i think of you.

the way a leaf browns,

curls up, and floats along wind,

rustle becoming tremor becoming fall—


cold air blows spaces between branches and i wonder

which air ravaged your neurons

which air dared fly through you at night, waking you in a

Parkinsonian jolt, summer taking a nosedive

into a colder turn of earth.


i have

only one memory of you

before you could no longer remember me.

we were eating papaya—your favorite—and the dyskinesia was

still mild. you were stretching your legs, so i stretched too.

and though i truly could not stand papaya’s thick smell,

i gnawed it in solidarity,

bright summer flesh

making sticky orange smiles.


i want to pour into you what we know now, to exact

the moment of mutation and leap into your genome

and shake some sense into those strands. i want them to give you

deep brain stimulation. you should see the videos, nanji.

they’re walking in ten minutes.

they’re going from shaky hands spilling water to

easily taking sips. they go into summerland, nanji.


in autumn,

i think of you.

papayas flee from marketstands and i hope

their going out of season here means there's

a plentiful grove

wherever you are wandering.


This poem is about: 
My family


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