Grandma Cloris by Grace Ocasio


This morning wrapped around my ankles

the way sunlight bleached your shins

in that 1935 photo.


In a white and black polka dot dress

that flows below your knees,

you lean against a Chevrolet Standard,

your left shoe glued to the car’s running board,

right leg stilt straight.


The sun’s light defines the curves of your body.

Turned toward the camera, the angle of your face.

Who’s that photographer?


Probably Grandpa, or maybe Grandpa’s rival,

or maybe even Grandpa’s ex-girlfriend,

your best friend. Your face is still as stone.


I covet the waviness of your hair,

the pin-up pose of you,

crisp as creased pants.



In the other photo, you lounge

in white gabardine slacks and a red silk blouse

with a tie neck you loop into a bow,

your feet snug in white patent leather shoes.


A fedora’s slanted on your head –

Grandpa’s hat. Your gaze so blinding

the cameraman must have blinked before his finger

pressed the shutter release.


In the corner of this photo, a boy sits on the grass –

legs crossed. His face, bare

as terracotta floor tiles, chin tilted upward.

His irises – two Jupiters spiraling off their axes –

strain toward you.

Grace Ocasio
Grace C. Ocasio placed as a finalist in the 2016 Aesthetica Creative Writing Award in Poetry. Her first full-length poetry collection, The Speed of Our Lives, was published by BlazeVOX Books in 2014. Her poetry chapbook, Hollerin from This Shack, was published by Ahadada Books in 2009.