How white is Monday’s laundry
against the bright blue sky of Summer
hung from a clothesline stretching
from a third floor window to the telephone pole
watching grandma hang the clothes
my feet pushing on the treadle
while sitting at her ancient sewing machine
“Non giocare con la machina!”
Her wrinkled hands now leaning on the sill
looking out across a yard of grass
forbidden to tenants of the third floor
no dogs or kids allowed
perhaps dreaming of her mother’s small garden
the few chickens, an almond tree and wild flowers
good things that may return one day
if not for her, perhaps for me.
A sigh a turn and then a smile
as we together water geraniums
in a window box erasing the gloom
from the brown bricks of a Brooklyn tenement.
My grandmother Laura DeVito who took my mom in off the streets when she had no where else to go. She passed in 1965 while I while I was in Eritrea. I hadn’t known of her passing when I swear I saw her sitting watching passeggiata one Asmara evening. A blink of an eye and she was gone.