Today, dear book group, we’re exploring the difference
between cinnamon, commas,
and a cheerleader’s ability
Pausing only if grandma needs her medicine
With plenty of cinnamon,
you can spin a syrupy alphabet in your throat
of phrases and punctuation, new to a child
And my grandma once told me
that if you mix plenty of cinnamon in your oatmeal
you can bend a period into a comma
with your mind, and
With plenty of commas,
An elderly man with a surgical mask
on his forehead,
may make himself visible outside your window
His acne scars covered – but his infectious saliva
skating on germs until it reaches another mouth.
It makes me revel at my own grandparents
and the way their masks kiss and are kissed
when – They leave to get vegan donuts.
One moment, grandma needs her medicine.
She tells me it’s because her mask smells
like a cheerleader
Highschool is sticking its unwashed fingers up her nose again
Showers in body spray during class,
the smell of shiny magazine pages and pressed flowers
having a tea party in the split ends of the cheerleaders ponytail
Too much for her to bear.
A T-shirt in the airport says – if a comma isn’t placed
in front of grandma
instead of after
she might end up in our digestive system.
With a cheerleaders ability,
you can kick so high
your leg gets stuck in the lumps of oatmeal
in the sky
or, if you aren’t heartless, grandpa says
you should jump up and down
until grandma finds the energy
to crawl back out of your throat.