Unerased | Steep steps
by Vanessa Couto Johnson
My grandmother asked, “Does it feel like being widowed?”
I walk between stones
of buildings and do my job.
One of my walls has a whiteboard
with a vertical slope of your blue words.
Your voice telephones above miles
of a straight-but-flooded road.
I expect: if I see you on a webcam,
I’ll need gold between my growing cracks.
I put on a new brand of lipbalm but think
it’ll attract bugs, that I can
only wear this far from home.
My grandmother is not a widow, not unless
ex-husbands count somehow.
I sat on her Japanese farmhouse staircase
that she imported back with her,
I a child up on dark wood nearing a ceiling.
Where else would it go? Drawers under
each step retained stacks I couldn’t read.
She read me of La Belle et la Bête, boar-
head man. Today, I realize most of the meat
I’m eating lately is pork bedded in something.
Rice. Eggs as sunset. Pasture of guacamole.
I revisit the same places that you will see
during the taste of next season.