Grandma Was a Cow
inspired by Dee Marcellus Cole’s sculpture
No brisket, which is that hanging
skin below the neck. My grandmother
had one. But this Grandma’s gaunt
and bug-eyed, two long
skinny legs in small boots.
She’s also cloaked and winged,
donning a mask on her head
like a grinning cap. A smallish fellow,
wearing a sombrero, his body shaped
like another cow’s head, drapes
down her back, and yet another guy
nestles in his hollowed-out gut.
This grandma has layers. She’s
complicated. Mine was, too, but kept
her demons better hidden. No bright
south-of-the-border ensemble, no array
of patterns in oranges, pinks, purples,
vivid blues. No attention-grabber, my Gram.
She kept her head low, while this one
stands right up straight, a life-size
candelabra adorned with wicks, daring us
to strike a match. But we can’t set her on fire,
or all these teasing hints to her mysteries would
disappear in smoke and ash.