I don’t know what to buy my grandmother.
At eighty-three, she surrounds herself
with trinkets she can no longer see:
shelves of bells, glass angels, spoons,
porcelain boxes, tiny vases, thimbles,
carvings, candles, embroidered flowers.
Her sight blurs. She can’t read.
She knows what’s coming: She watched
the same darkness absorb her father.
This year, I examine suncatchers and frames
and paperweights. I can’t buy anything.
I imagine each item coming back to me
a few years later. As I shop, I wonder
the question I can never ask: How does it feel
to be so close to darkness?Tess Thompson’s poetry has been published in Calyx, Tempus, Literary Mama, ByLine, and the Oxford/Cambridge May Anthology for Poetry. She has her master’s degree in Victorian Literature from Oxford University. , and I am currently at work on a novel. She lives in northwest Philadelphia with her husband and son.