Under the soft circle of light from her living room lamp
Mama Dora would slowly scratch my scalp and back
as I leaned against her knees, watching Hee Haw.
The little dun ottoman held the center of the simple room,
as though settled in the knowledge that it was enough,
backed by the solid ship of the brown nubbly couch.
I could drink my own sweet tea, poured heavily
from the caramel-colored enamel pitcher into a glass glass,
and I could eat a peanut butter and jelly on Bunny bread
even hours after supper
just by asking for it– or cereal–
the miracle of cereal at night.
At bedtime she would sit in front of her vanity,
a wedding gift, bought new in 1925
and pull the dark combs from the flat fold of shining white hair–
the long silk shock of it.
I could touch it.
When it was time to climb into bed I was beside her, holding her,
and my parents knew– I was too little
to sleep alone away from home. They hoped she would hold me.
Her warm dry body covered in a clean cotton nightdress, and her hands
so soft I had to press them into my face
and smell them.
It is late on a summer night, my father has not yet carried me, heavy,
from the sweet clasp of Mama Dora
to the cold, cold bed of the Oldsmobile.
Everything has not yet happened.
The world made up of everything you feel