by Maya Jacyszyn
felt like handles of a wicker basket
your shoulders kneaded down into bone lumps.
My fingers grieve the loop of your suspenders
how they’d wriggle under their stretch
brace for a long sling shot pull,
a reminder that you too lived your life as a prankster
all those years ago, swiping cigarette butts from cobblestone
and whistling at nuns from your motorcycle.
When I was young, you rolled up a tissue and
placed it in my hands;
I still feel its starchiness as I rub your back.
We’d dangle it around Nonna’s nose in her lamb-eared sleep,
the way you flashed your Cheshire teeth as
she swatted our buzzing fly.
I visited today while you were napping,
legs warped off the bed in some pipe cleaner craft,
your skull shedding like cherry blossoms.
We’re two strokes in and
all I can do is smooth these sheets,
think to the card games
and how all you heard in church was “cheeses,”
try to make this bed a bit comfier than the day before.
Maya Jacyszyn is a multi-published poet and the Assistant Director of Neumann University’s Writing Center. She received her bachelor’s degree at Saint Joseph’s University where she also served as Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine titled, Crimson & Gray. More recently, her work is featured in the Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle, The Ignatian Literary Magazine, Quibble Lit, and Clepsydra Literary and Art Magazine, among others.