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Sam Moe

Will I Still Love Manhattan Tomorrow

My grandmother passes away on
A bed not her own, far away from
Gemstones and shoulder pads, iron

Sewing machines and oil paintings
Her daughters made. A seamstress
From Ecuador, she leaves closets

Filled with silks and rolls of ribbons
Button boxes beneath beds, sometimes
There are needles and pins, the kids

Need to be careful when they run
Through the apartment. The cross
In the back room, stolen from a church

Down the street, is covered in
Photographs of us, a knit necklace
Of green and red flowers, small prayers

Taped near the arms, in one photo
I am young and still smiling, wearing
A dress that looks like a lace doily.

My grandmother made that, too,
Just like she made my sweet sixteen
Dress, a horrendous shade of bubblegum

With straps that broke the day of. My
Mother and her sister couldn’t agree
On anything, I listened to them argue

As my grandmother sewed my dress
Back together, her needle grazing my
Shoulders, leaving small red marks.

Soon I will return to Manhattan, where
I know her spirit remains, lounging elegantly
On the couches in the Times Square Macy’s

Lurking in the glass bead stores on
Fashion Avenue. She is in my ear telling
Me to drink hot coffee in the summer,

Cold coffee in the winter. She is carefully
Hanging my wet socks on the radiator
Shaking a fistful of pennies as we celebrate

New Year’s Eve. Everyone, cojalo algo
Amarillo, something yellow for luck, money
For wealth, when the confetti pops onto

The street I don’t see it, my mother has
Turned the television off, she doesn’t
Want to celebrate the new year with her

Mother so recently passed. I celebrate
In secret, several towns down holding
Amber champagne with change in my

Pocket, I think she would have liked the
New blazer I’m wearing, and all the women
I meet tell me I look business casual, their

Eyes smeared in goth makeup, glittering
Silver and white on their eyelashes, I don’t
Tell anyone I am experiencing a loss. I don’t

Know how to process grief. In the bathroom
I find a bug in the sink, small and soft
Just like her yarn. Without giving it another

Thought, I drown the beetle. Come back
And haunt me. I miss the apartment full
Of women cracking jokes in Spanish, rolling

Dough for huevos mollos to be eaten at
Weddings, us kids jugando en la sala, our
Pasta-sauce coated hands gripping each

Other’s shirts as we fling one another onto
Plastic-coated couches. We could wake early

To get bread from Hot and Crusty. This time

As you take the steps slowly, I’ll wait by your
Side. I’ve brought the soft napkins you love
So much, to wipe the sweat from your brow.

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