I tell my nephew, I’m sorry
about your crazy grandma.
My mother will be pleased to know
he doesn’t ask which one.
That was some messed up shit,
he says. How’s grandpa, I want to know.
They’ve both lost it, he says.
I live far enough away to learn their dramas
late or not at all and I’m really sorry
truly that she spent four days crying
on the couch, her face scratched,
the dog in city custody, quarantined,
that my nephew cried, that my father cried,
that she lied, that she turned her
own chocolate lab over to animal control
because who does that, who calls the city
because the dog was playing and your
heads bumped even if you are moving soon
to Florida to a retirement village and you
just don’t want to deal anymore
with things so big and messy like the yard
or a pool or a garage full of tools or your
two year old dog, or all these meds. And
pretty soon, if she can ever get down there,
she’ll sign her husband over, too. I send
my nephew a picture of a reindeer hat
because he shows me his creepy eye with antlers ink.
That’s it. I go out and look at the crocuses
that aren’t dead yet, but only a little frayed from snow.
Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review. Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri. She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women (https://www.facebook.com/sekwhw).