Suddenly aware of the dark
Blank dark fades my consciousness to empty shadow.
I feel caught in the antics of the Hollywood Squares,
a game show I saw on Grandma’s tv when I was small,
black and white and snowy from the Western Auto store.
A crown of artificial flowers dusty in a green glass swan
nests on a white doily hand-tatted by someone dead.
B list actors playing the fool miraculous as resurrection,
no tv in my parents’ house back in the Twitty flats.
No cable service out there, no money for an antenna,
and anyhow Mama was afraid of attracting storm gods.
So visits to Grandma featured three channels of magic,
handsome cowboys, and Disney’s Wonderful World.
In the kitchen a white formica table below a wall of gifts,
the piece of cedar from the Ozarks with The Last Supper,
the pretty Jesus with compassionate eyes framed in brass.
Grandpa sat weeping into coffee he had saucered to cool
the night Grandma died, the only time I saw him cry. Eyes
closed, I hid behind Daddy, suddenly aware of the dark.
Donna Snyder, founded the Tumblewords Project in 1995 and continues to organize its free weekly workshop series and other events in the El Paso borderlands. She has poetry collections published by Chimbarazu, Virgogray, and NeoPoiesis presses. Her work appears in such journals and anthologies as Setu, Red Fez, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, VEXT Magazine, Mezcla, Original Resistance, Miriam’s Well, and Speak the Language of the Land. Snyder has read her work in Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, and Texas. She previously practiced law representing indigenous people, people with disabilities, and immigrant workers.