My grandmother’s hands always looked like ordinary flesh,
but God must have mixed them with a secret spell
He borrowed from Glynda the Good.
Her thumbs could pop all the peas from a pod with a single snap,
and she could pare a potato with one long swirl of a paring knife,
and pit cherries and leave them looking as if God’s imagination
always saw them without pits.
Her hands made roses swarm up the trellises
and lilacs fly above the hedges like blue flames in a fire.
Thorns turned blunt beneath her fingers,
and bees buzzed graciously wherever she went in her garden.
There was a window ledge where cardinals pecked
and scattered seeds, and watched her sew,
and on Mondays watched her scrub my grandpa’s shirts
on a washboard sloping sideways in a sudsy tub.
All that was long ago; but somewhere still, I think,
in a twisted fold of time’s twice turned and rumpled robe,
my grandmother sits in a morning swing and watches
ripe red nuts that fall from chestnut trees,
and the milkman, urging on his stoic horse,
as he jingles down the street.