From After April Rain (Longship Press, 2021)

The weather in my grandmother's living room

by Elizabeth Oxley

varies according to light cast by her television.

Eight years old, I loll on the floor in Wheel of Fortune's

rainbow glow. Husbands and wives let off steam

on Days of Our Lives while Laverne and Shirley dodge rain

on their way down to the brewery. My grandmother

was raised on a farm: asparagus and peonies,

apple butter stewed in copper pots. She feeds me

ham sandwiches, sips black coffee in her reclining chair.

Fog rolls through each time she lights a cigarette.

We watch She-Ra in the three o'clock hour, laugh

when Lucy stomps her re-run grapes. By evening,

news anchors deliver storms: Berlin's wall falling,

Cold War thawed. Beyond my grandmother's house,

the valley wears its coat of mist or dew, and corn

condenses over humid soil. I take shelter inside

her living room, years before her skin turns pale

and cirrus, before her lungs rattle—not thunder

rolling closer but sunshine mobilizing to depart.