my grandmother stayed up with me once.
in her flickering kitchen, we sat and peeled
the skin off orange mangoes,
ripeness lingered as humidity does.
and the bits of red skin stayed under my
fingernails even when she tried to scrub them off.
time made origami of her skin, her palms were
wrinkled paper cranes, and the mangoes would not go.
dawn waits giddy eyed outside the window.
the mosquitoes swarm deliriously in the mango air
puffing out of our house, enough sweetness
to make the trees swelter and hunch over.
the sun peeks out, set clean against the blood-
peach pit of the sky. when I notice her sunspots,
I am happy they are that: dark spots of sun
against the pale watercolor of skin.
maybe she touches my cheekbone with her
softened hands, her fingers like gentle architecture.
maybe she bends her spine like the trees, to look
in my eyes for the parts of her that life tore away.
maybe there are no maladies as sweet as
dreaming of her, of her mango perfume.
my grandmother rests on the hind limbs of the earth,
will blur into the wind when she is finally set loose,
will run as far as she can go, the earth spinning below
her feet as she dances, the way she does.