Salmonella

The year of drinking biblically, Gramma shelling peas
into old chewing tobacco tins on the back porch,
Grandpa stubbing out his cigarettes
into the soft halves of peaches,
bottoms smoldering into pink ash.
Before the rain and the fish,
they used to slice tomatoes in tandem,
moongaze until the neighbors half-expected
to hear them howling like coyotes,
backs arched.
Then the salmon came down hard,
wet bodies slapping the pavement,
guts bursting into ruby pulp, the bass
leaving behind emerald scales
in their bathtub, dry as Gramma’s skin,
tuna sandwiches dinner after dinner.
Like the orbits of all planets,
something changed between them;
Grandpa began to sleep alone on the foldout couch
slick silver tails writhing through his folded arms,
Gramma sipping gin in bed
to ward off the nightmares,
waking to find the sheets twisted and thrown off
as if in sleep she’d been trying
to swim upstream.

Meggie Royer

1 Comment

  1. I love this poem! Great job!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *