Helen

 
My great-grandmother hums,
filling all five rooms with musical notes—
“Almost heaven, West Virginia.”
I feel like the only company she has today.
 
She slices through running butter, crumbling crust,
and sweet-smelling apples that
avalanche down the plate, blistering yet irresistible.
 
She instinctively balances the searing heat with cool cream
the flavor of imported vanilla beans,
loading the vintage saucer until I feel its weight.
 
I swallow spoonful by spoonful,
memorizing each layer of this moment:
the syrupy taste,
the injured vinyl yellow chair,
her thin yet strong palms stroking the back of my hand,
the creak of the screen door giving way to the evening air…