My Grandmother Speaks of Beauty


I could eat them with a spoon Herman would say every time he drove the tractor over and saw them playing on the red dirt bank: they’d climb up and up and slide down so fast they wore their palms raw stopping. Suppose there was a pageant among them, he said, which one would win. I snatched the corn he’d brought and sent him on. That afternoon I found two of them stripped to their panties, kneeling over their toys, a naked Barbie on her back pressed underneath a bear. What are you doing, I said, keep this door open. My daughters’ daughters. They blinked their eyes and didn’t say a word. Suppose there was a pageant—dark-haired girls, all apple-cheeked, eyes green as the lake. We put them in the fire truck for the Apple Festival Parade: look at them wave and toss down their candy. We should have found a spoon while we could have done it. Now can’t a single one of them walk past a mirror without looking in it.

KIMBERLY O'CONNOR, a NC native, lives in Denver. Her poems appear in Appalachian Review, Colorado Review, The South Carolina Review, and elsewhere.