Tasha Graff

From Maine to New York

I once read in a poem that the heart rests
between beats.

 

My suitcase holds three books, a nightgown
and clothes for six days.

 

It takes five and a half hours to drive to Harlem.

 

My grandmother sleeps until 11. I leave
Portland at 9.

 

We have dinner at our favorite restaurant
on LaSalle Street. The waitress is new.

 

She can’t recognize us.

 

I re-explain the specials to my grandmother who loudly
complains about the noise.

 

We share a fig salad. I begin to tell her about Eric,
but she doesn’t look up.

 

I hand her a piece of bread. Zer gut. Our
pasta arrives. We eat and pay.

 

I carry her walker up the five steps to the street, we make
our way home.

 

The corner deli on 123rd is under new ownership: Welcome
to the Bahamas.

 

Praise the Lord Dental has closed.

 

We watch Jeopardy and play Scrabble.

 

It isn’t until she goes to bed that I remember that my heart is

still beating,

 

that I cannot feel it rest.

 

 

 


From Maine to New York” first appeared in SOFTBLOW (Sept. 2012).