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).