Suzannah's Voice

Front Seat

by Suzannah Gilman


My grandmother and my daughter in that same bed, five years earlier. My daughter is rubbing lotion on Mawmaw’s back.

My mother’s mother lies on this bed.
She sways her head and mumbles,
eyes blank as buttons.
I hold her hand,
recite The Lord’s Prayer,
which she taught to me
when my hand was small in hers.
She closes her eyes.
Her face soothes at the familiar
words. And then, Amen.
After her 91 years, suddenly
there is nothing left to say.

She shakes her head, startled,
as if she is riding
in my grandfather’s sleek Buick, 1972,
and he has just hit a pothole.
I put my hand to her brow
to soothe her and though
I do not know
what I am doing,
ease her last crease away.

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