As my great-grandmother lay dying, the family
knowing she wouldn’t last the night, stood around
her bed and sang Polish hymns.

My father placed me on her chest. At three
I was lean and hard. She was soft without hope
for children or spring.

Unable to lift her head, she spoke softly
like an overheard whisper, and as her arms slid
open, she gave me words to live by.

As I enter the last years of my life,
I spread my arms and
give you the same words.

Joe Milosch graduated from San Diego State University. His poetry has appeared in various magazines, including the California Quarterly. He has multiple nominations for the Pushcart and received the Hackney Award for Literature. His books: The Lost Pilgrimage Poems and Landscape of a Hummingbird, were published by Poetic Matrix Press.