Opal Jewelry and Beckoning Bread 
 For Nana
 She was old, at least 
 As if that won’t be us tomorrow.
 As if life continues on forever 
 and doesn’t snap shut—
 a screen door while you’re still on the threshold. 
 She wasn’t in her right mind
 As if the times she watered tulips 
 or mixed up paint in Styrofoam bowls 
 weren’t consequential, didn’t carry over with her 
 into days emptying out on yellowed linoleum. 
 She’s at Home now 
 As if I’m not remembering how I always felt 
 peaceful around her, the self-contained pool— 
 timidly gathering brown eggs beside her calm body.
 As if I can just continue to go on without her 
 saying my name or giving me orange sherbet. 
 Did everybody decide to just forget about 
 her oval watch or that exquisite gap in her teeth
 or especially those navy blue sneakers? 
 How can they calmly say 
 she’s not suffering anymore 
 when she will no longer print off the list of 
 family birthdays and tape it to the side of the fridge? 
 And now everyone will share stories of their special bonds
 and it won’t matter that my birthday is one day before hers 
 because she would bake loaves for anyone who was hungry. 
 4 cups warm water, 2 packets of yeast, ½ cup of honey, 
 ¼ cup of shortening,13 cups of flour, 4 tsp of salt,
 proofed, rested, covered with a warm cloth, 
 baked until gold brown and thumping-hollow.
 She would grease her hands and knead sweetened-dough
 for all empty bellies, waiting each time for the second rise,
 and it would do us well to remember that. 
 Maybe I’m panicking because people continue to have babies
 and the replacements become more important than
 the originals. I don’t understand how it’s decided 
 when we stop caring. 
 So what if those last days she was unreachable 
 in her inner world and ate only chocolate for dinner? 
 I dare to insist her pink Velcro slippers matter. 
 Let her benediction be golden rod in early evening
 and a cherry Jollyrancher at the bottom of a purse.
 And a Sunday full of humming. 

Lydia Renfro holds an MFA from Adelphi University and  is the recipient of the Donald Everett Axinn Award for Fiction. Her work  has appeared in Litro U.S., Siblini Journal, The Blue Nib, Witches Mag,  Miletus International Literature Magazine, The Merrimack Review,  Isacoustic*, and others. She currently lives in Colorado, and is  completing her first novel manuscript.

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