Goodnight, Gramaw, by Misty Skaggs

Every night, at two a.m., I kneel

at the altar of her rust-brown recliner.

After the cred­its roll on past The Big Val­ley,

and Miss Bar­bara Stanwyck

has her last, hearty laugh,

I fill a plas­tic pan

packed home from the hospital

with luke­warm city water

and Epsom salts.


As I sink her tired feet to soak,

I won­der how many miles…


It’s hard to think

through the cam­phor stink

of Dr. J. R. Watkins’ white liniment.

But I man­age to imagine

where rough heels

used to be,

ghosts of cal­lus­es that come

with hard work

and thin-soled shoes.


The med­i­cine burns

my gnawed-up nails.

The effort of her smile is the part

that tin­gles.

You’ve got Pap’s hands,”

a bless­ing,

All palm and no fingers.”


Misty Marie Rae Skag­gs, 30, is a two-time col­lege drop-out who cur­rent­ly resides on her Mamaw's couch in a trail­er at the end of a grav­el road in East­ern Ken­tucky. Her work has been pub­lished here on fried​chick​e​nand​cof​fee​.com as well as in print jour­nals such as New Madrid, Pine Moun­tain Sand & Grav­el, Lime­stone and Inscape. On June 9th, she will be read­ing her poems on the radio as part of the Seed­time on the Cum­ber­land Fes­ti­val. When she isn't bak­ing straw­ber­ry pies and tend­ing the back­yard toma­to gar­den, she spends her time read­ing and writ­ing damned near obses­sive­ly in the back porch "office" space she is cur­rent­ly shar­ing with ten kittens.

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