Seasons Have Passed

Seasons have passed since I last touched my grandmother.
She holds her loneliness in quarantine and, faithfully, I keep my distance
in fear of contagion and angry that she’s gotten herself sick with age.

On the telephone our conversation telescopes the weather in New York;
rain fell along a narrow band of streets from my mother’s house to the Hudson.
Cold air turned it to snow and this morning the city bathed in first winter light.
Yes, I am sure she wears stockings, grandma, pulling them up to her belly button
she protects her skin, and I don’t mention that her stockings are too thin.

Last night I stood at your door and you did not let me take off my shoes
my hand disloyal to intuition
brushed against your back and turned into an awkward half-embrace.
Underneath your clothes you are thinner and more brittle than I expected.
Your skin repels my touch and I am overwhelmed with grief
missing you already.

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