has failed to bring my grandmother’s breaded trout.
Nor has it brought me the biggest piece of birthday cake,
or Barbie and Ken in matching bridal outfits.
It doesn’t bring the saturated yellow of her room,
or the feeling of knowing the night is over when
Lawrence Welk says so.
I suppose a Southern Baptist won’t be summoned by
my overturned shot glass and hand drawn board.
If fire and brimstone funerals are any indication
she would slap my leg for even trying to bother her.
So instead I summon her by whispering sweet thing
the phrase I heard before a rough pat on the head.
The small words fill the space in my hands,
become the ceramic bluebird
stolen from my car
all I had of her.
Forget the cake. The illustrated encyclopedia of dogs
she left in my reach. Bring me my sister sleeping
in Grandma’s tired arms, her refusal to let
the sweet thing go.
Avra Elliott is a writer and toymaker from New Mexico. A graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, Elliott’s fiction has been published in Sweet Tree Review, Shadowgraph Quarterly and Noctua Review. Her poetry has appeared in, or is forthcoming from, Tinderbox, Tupelo Quarterly, Jam Tarts, llanot Review, Red Paint Hill, Birds Piled Loosely and Barrow Street.