James Pinkerton has a BA in English from California State University, Northridge. He has worked as a AmeriCorps volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, college math tutor, substitute elementary school teacher, and pizza delivery man. James lives in Sunland.
Sestina for Grandma
I can still smell the pine of Grandma’s house
The mantle clock still ticks the time
A white comforter invites me into its warmth
On her dresser more white…her face powder
The floors are wood, as I step they creak
It is Christmas, the tree twinkles, on top a star.
I sleep snug in my father’s bed. I can see the North Star
The small black dog, Daisy is curled in her house
Shadows flit and dance regardless of the time
Snow falls making drifts. I laugh….I am warm
In the morning I will dance in the fresh powder
A wind begins to blow. I listen as the trees creak
I sit on a swing with Grandma, her weight makes it creak
And I am safe…Grandma’s Shining Star
The swing set groans and topples onto the house
We giggle. A moment fixed in time
Hot coco steams its warmth
Later we feed sugar to horses
They grind it into fine powder.
I blow on a dandelion, spreading its powder
Grandma watches little frogs swim in the creek
It is dusk when we walk back, we wish on a shooting star
Gently Grandma stops me before we reach the house,
Looks into my eyes, and speaks of another time
She is little on her father’s shoulders safe, and warm.
Halley’s Comet blazed as she ate fresh cookies, sweet and warm
I eat cookies spilling the sugar’s powder
Halley’s will comes again and Grandma won’t be there. Her bones creak
She gives me a typewriter for college and hugs me one last time…her Rising Star
As we walk, hand-in-hand, to the house I cry wanting more time.
Morning brings a massive stroke. It is almost her time
She is in a wheelchair and I pile on blankets trying to keep her warm
I take honey and mix it with her medicine ground into powder
Singing in whispers as her rocker creaks
I wait for the comet and wish upon the North Star
It changes nothing… at dusk an Angel calls her to His house.
I remember the love in Grandma’s house.
I sit by the creek and feel her breath so warm.
I sneeze at dandelion’s powder and watch for falling stars.