Babcia wakes too early, before the sun can come greet her. Every morning a cycle of
cook, pray, eat, cook, pray, eat.
Running me a bath, she knows I won’t be up for another few hours. But when I shuffle to the bathroom the tub is steaming. The water went cold, I drew another one, she says.
Our kitchen is packed
just enough room for apple jam mason jars.
I learn to crack breakfast eggs over stained countertops like Babcia cracks stale moldy pieces of bread, rule of thumb is
If she could eat it in communist Poland she can eat it now. Besides, mold is good for the heart, she says.
Babcia has apple hands,
but not the green kind.
Her red delicious knuckles hate the sound of mine cracking I don’t stop, settle for arthritis future
thats what she insists will happen.
It’s past bedtime on a church day.
Apple hands knead sick-ache back like pastry dough, I try to sleep off 7 year old hurt.
When the boys on the block threw me over the monkey bars beat me like a rug made sure I was clean.
I didn’t know it was a bad word when I called one boy a dupa. Babcia wipes my tears, embroidered handkerchief soft on puffy eyes but the tears keep coming so she sings:
Dobrej nocy, i sza,
do białego śpij dnia.