My Grandmother’s Bed
How she pulled it out of the wall
To my amazement. How it rattled and
Creaked, how it sagged in the middle
And smelled like a used-clothing store.
I was ecstatic to be sleeping on wheels!
It rolled when I moved; it trembled
When she climbed under the covers
In her flannel nightgown, kissing me
Softly on the head, turning her back.
Soon I could hear her snoring next to me–
Her clogged breath roaring in my ears,
Filling her tiny apartment like the ocean
Until I, too, finally swayed and slept
While a radiator hissed in the corner
And traffic droned on Lawrence Avenue. . . .
I woke up to the color of light pouring
Through the windows, the odor of soup
Simmering in the kitchen, my grandmother’s
Face. It felt good to be ashore again
After sleeping on rocky, unfamiliar waves.
I loved to help her straighten the sheets
And lift the Murphy back into the wall.
It was like putting the night away
When we closed the wooden doors again
And her bed disappeared without a trace.
“Hirsch possesses an uncanny vividness of memory springing, it seems, from an infinite fund of affection and sadness…There is a wonderful simplicity and clarity in the best of these poems.”
—Liz Rosenberg, Philadelphia Inquirer
Straightforward and precise, these poems…beckon the reader with their immediacy…With humility and passion, Hirsch illuminates the contradictory resilience and weakness of the human spirit.”