Opal Jewelry and Beckoning Bread For Nana. A poem by Lydia Renfro

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Opal Jewelry and Beckoning Bread 
 For Nana
  
 She was old, at least 
 As if that won’t be us tomorrow.
 As if life continues on forever 
 and doesn’t snap shut—
 a screen door while you’re still on the threshold. 
  
 She wasn’t in her right mind
 As if the times she watered tulips 
 or mixed up paint in Styrofoam bowls 
 weren’t consequential, didn’t carry over with her 
 into days emptying out on yellowed linoleum. 
  
 She’s at Home now 
 As if I’m not remembering how I always felt 
 peaceful around her, the self-contained pool— 
 timidly gathering brown eggs beside her calm body.
 As if I can just continue to go on without her 
 saying my name or giving me orange sherbet. 
  
 Did everybody decide to just forget about 
 her oval watch or that exquisite gap in her teeth
 or especially those navy blue sneakers? 
  
 How can they calmly say 
 she’s not suffering anymore 
 when she will no longer print off the list of 
 family birthdays and tape it to the side of the fridge? 
  
 And now everyone will share stories of their special bonds
 and it won’t matter that my birthday is one day before hers 
 because she would bake loaves for anyone who was hungry. 
 4 cups warm water, 2 packets of yeast, ½ cup of honey, 
 ¼ cup of shortening,13 cups of flour, 4 tsp of salt,
 proofed, rested, covered with a warm cloth, 
 baked until gold brown and thumping-hollow.
 She would grease her hands and knead sweetened-dough
 for all empty bellies, waiting each time for the second rise,
 and it would do us well to remember that. 
  
 Maybe I’m panicking because people continue to have babies
 and the replacements become more important than
 the originals. I don’t understand how it’s decided 
 when we stop caring. 
  
 So what if those last days she was unreachable 
 in her inner world and ate only chocolate for dinner? 
 I dare to insist her pink Velcro slippers matter. 
  
 Let her benediction be golden rod in early evening
 and a cherry Jollyrancher at the bottom of a purse.
  
 And a Sunday full of humming. 

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Lydia Renfro holds an MFA from Adelphi University and is the recipient of the Donald Everett Axinn Award for Fiction. Her work has appeared in Litro U.S., Siblini Journal, The Blue Nib, Witches Mag, Miletus International Literature Magazine, The Merrimack Review, Isacoustic*, and others. She currently lives in Colorado, and is completing her first novel manuscript.

Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie is now completing her first novel where, for a family with a Seventh-day Adventist father and a Mennonite mother, the End Times are just around the corner. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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