Each day Grandma holds a ceremony
more verbs than nouns—
cooks her coffee
tugs up her girdle
clips earrings to sagging lobs
chats with her neighbor Angela

A lovely freedom for a child
to step back, notice Angela’s maroon hair
scalp soaked in the same color

But every Saturday evening the landscape changes
we traipse down to fix her hair
Mom spools grey strands around index finger
slides bobbie pins through to hold each roll
Lawrence Welk conducts from cornered TV

I float into a gap, dream of being a
Lennon sister, singing a perfect song
perfect hair, perfect smile

A polka burps out
She stands, grabs Mom up
they dance like talking stanzas
Gram leads then Mom takes a turn
curtsy takes them around oval coffee table

My giggle— wild with innocence
Their moves— not at all like
American Band Stand

Abandon spinning— a doorway into a
remembering of a story I’d heard—
Dad gliding mom around
eyes a deep green like bottles in the basement
Mom counting softly in his ear

The dancing ends, they settle into their chairs
winded, red faced, shiny beads cling to smiling lips
Gram looks at me, winks at Mom
face creases in crooked grin
“Once in a while, my sweet
you have to live a little”