My Grandmother’s Last Days


The cigarette slowly burns.
There are no sounds in the surroundings,

Solitude is a gay old time
Defined by the altruism of cigarette.

Inhaling the nicotine, I look around
At my garden, the honeysuckles

Deadly yet beautiful, the anthuriums
Like sails on top of a boat,

The orchids, as mauve as the decorated
Courage of an American soldier,

And as I burn, I know that a cigarette
Is just a transient habit, a pastime

That makes me aloof. Like the last
Remaining mango in the mango tree,

Eyed by the squirrels, glowing
Like a moon in the sky, luster

Reflected off her peel. I remember
My grandmother, in her last days

Just like the mango, still a source of light
Enlightening me with stories

From her past. There was nothing
To do but listen to her weak voice

Knowing that the end was nigh.
She was like that lone mango on the tree

That fell with a thud, to the awaiting ground,
The jaws of death, like squirrel teeth

Had gripped into her fragile heart
And taken a fatal chunk.

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