Friday, January 30, 2015

Toast with Butter

Toast with Butter        

Frannie Zellman

(To the memory of my grandma, Helen Glaser)

Saturday was a warm shade of yellow
and the plate of porcelain fruit on the wall

and the people in their kitchen
we could see
across the alley.

When you spread butter
on toast,
you would send the knife
in slow, precise strokes
as if you or the knife
were wake-dreaming.
You'd pick the toast up slowly
and chew each bite
with just a little butter
getting on the same spot
above your lip every time.
I'd wipe it each time,
making you laugh
and blink,
your hazel eyes
smiling into my dark unsettled ones
as if butter indeed melted in your mouth:
just a tiny spot
on your chin.

And the people in their kitchen
looked back at us
across the alley
almost but not quite
in a smile.

I think you knew them a little.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Apartment 2D - 2

If a soul can occupy an apartment, my Grandma Helen dwells here now, then, forever.  Her essence and being are in every table, every chair, every lamp, every bedspread, every closet, every cup, every plate, every utensil, every decoration.

Grandpa Jim is with the desks, most of the books, the bookshelves, the radio and the TV. I wonder what he would think of computers and tablets and 3D printing...

The black rotary phone, one of the last of its kind, sits on the far left side of Grandpa's desk, near the wall.

When people ask me why I continue to live in this apartment alone, I tell them, "I'm happiest here." Some of them shake their heads. A few understand. One of these is Eduardo.

A late-blooming dad, Eduardo has two children. His marriage, fundamentally solid, has survived a couple of affairs.

During the time when he wasn't seeing me, I texted him.  "If you decided not to see me after you got married, why are you having an affair?"

I didn't expect him to answer. But he texted back:  "How do you know I'm having an affair?"

I responded:  "Your co-leader of The Bronx Walkers hangs her head when the photo is of both of you."

He answered:  "How perspicacious of you, Emmy."

And that was all. Until we ran into each other ten years later on, of all trains, the Thru 5.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Apartment 2D - 1

I am the last one left now who remembers. No daughters to tell the stories to, to cook with, to laugh with, to argue with.  I never thought about having or even adopting children when I was younger.  The way most parents view them or speak about them, their children seem to fight or have problems or get in the way or don't respond or aren't interested in talking.  But if just one child -I instinctively think of a daughter, although it could be a son, understood...

Sitting now near the window, in my favorite chair, I look out.  First at the fire escape, then at the street.  My favorite pastime during rainy days was and is to stare at the building across the street, at its fearsome gargoyles which seem to spring into sharp relief on cloudy days.