Grandma Knows Life
Edited by Sarah Roderick
Grandma sing Gospel Contralto low rasp Mahalia take my hand high c crescendo “her vibrato quickens”— flip pork-chops in lard feet fixed to white-ish, brown floor tile of home Grandma sang to church Etta James mid -timbre crocodile shoes hit carpet floors, hands raised, cloche hats to ceiling, cloche hats all colors “church rocking” Black church local star local star Black star used col- ored bathrooms. Grandma crafted blankets blanket factory artisan at 15 hands work spool, work spool day Monday... Tuesday… Wednesday...Thursday... Friday... keep fingers at spool keep penny checks Grandma married No Greater Love Billie brown -skinned lady wed local worker, local mill worker, Portier “dark-‘skinded’. built home, both built home, both built family Grandma preached Gospel. Gospel: “Black folk know life, life we know immaterial!” lady work spool til 56 now 76 collect penny checks Grandma sing Gospel. “Sing? lady sang!” Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. Saturday. Grandma sang: earth, no. home with Lord, my Jesus.