My Grandmother grew Rosemary
After which she was named
She smelled of flowers and flour
She made cookies and pie
Her bread was amazing
And her hands small in size

She was stubborn footed
And immovable
Set in her ways
And if trouble found me
I was sure I would pay
I never found out because I stopped
Dead in my tracks
At sight of her gaze

And she’d go back to crocheting
Like a beach and a wave
Her hands worked nimbly and fast
She corrected my stitches
And showed how my hands
Should be placed
She filled me with soda, candy, and cake
She loved me and hugged me
So tight I though I would break
And I’d be buried in warmth
Decades deep

She’d laugh at jokes
As I played on the floor
And bid Grandpa for one beer
Or more
She’d rattle her can
She’d clip her chin hairs
In her chair
And at seeing me agast
She would wink and laugh
“One day you’ll get old too.”
She would stick out her tongue
And she’d laugh at my youth

If you were gone a while
Upon your return
She’d exacerbate a sigh
“Well, where in the hell have you been?”
With a huff
We’d know we better keep it together
Because Grandma was tough

I’d heard all the stories
Of her paddle and look
If you got out-a-line
Your butt would be rough
But she forgot she made all of us
Ornery like her
And we all set our feet in deep
Lest someone push us of mark
We’re tenacious and determined
Borne of salt and mud
Freedom and fire

Just like grandma
And the dust bowl
Rosemary and flour
Pickles and jam
And a beer on the hour.

-Angel Marie Russell


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