lime green toaster with black electrical cord
[ This image is in the public domain. ]

Grandma’s eyes darken to a puddle
eight decades deep. There is something big inside of her,
one sentence wrapping around itself,
writhing like a rabbit-thick boa constrictor.
She forgets where she is, where she left
the old apron of faded red apples she uses
to dry wet hands before answering the phone.

Each day, she picks up the receiver to verify
a dial-tone. The solid sound of plastic on plastic
as she places it back in the cradle.
She’s begun the business of arranging her end.
One good dress on a hook in the closet,
a cash-stuffed envelope marked Funeral Home.

Outside, a mailbox full of uncashed Social Security checks.
Inside, a stutter of lights before a final flicker
Grandma fails to notice. She places two slices
of rye into the toaster, then waits as nothing happens.
She unplugs it and walks out the front door,
down the hill—a housedress of a woman in late April.
The smell of lemon dish soap and brown paper bags.
The black cord dragging its line in the dirt.