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Grandma

Grandma was an Alzheimer’s case.
I sat with her all night in November
When she called on the phone
And her voice shook with the jitter of Coke.

Grandma only drank Coca-Cola
She only wore big-wool coats
And managed her life
From the telephone And a taxi-cab.

Grandma was a Black Operative
And she knew all the people
On the street in the Falls
And the Banks.

She was always looking out for me
And introducing me to the older ones
And keeping me out of trouble
By tucking a one dollar bill into my hand.

She said to keep them in the bed
Hide them under the mattress
Because that way the crooks would
Never take it away.

Now she’s in a good place
Where they bring her decent food
And she talks to people
Rather than bank tellers.