Grandmama’s Poem

Deja Robinson
Such a pretty girl, so shy. I got you.
You would sing in my ear while you
used tin foil to secure the wooden beads
at the ends of my plaits.

The winter after mama left me, I would lay 
in bed and converse with loneliness. For the 
first time ever, I heard the screams of silence. 
You told me not to be startled, to let myself melt into it.

You would stroke my cheek with your thumb, secretly 
hoping it would make me forget the innocence I lost.
Hush child, too pretty for all that crying now.
Everything works itself out. I got you, you hear me?

And even before I became accustomed to the hue
of disappointment, you would press my head against
your bosom and have me listen to the rhythm of your 
heart as you hummed along to Bill Withers.

I still remember your favorite words,  I’m right up the road,
I’ll share your load, 
if you just call me. 
It still comforts me, but it’s nothing without your percussion.

Now the only sign of your presence is a mere ringing 
in my ear that if I listen to close enough, I can still hear you,
What a pretty girl, ain’t that much shy no more. That's good,
no need to be shy no more.