Creative non-fiction / March 2016 (Issue 31)

Lola Mommy

by Elisa Jay

Lola, smoking while sewing, hums. A tuneless hymn, as she pulls thread through needle, while I sleep in a stack of dresses. For lunch, we eat boiled chicken. She eats the fatty skin alone. We smile at each other. Laugh. I follow smoke and song into the garden, where she speaks to her plants. Agbiag kayo, she says repeatedly, watering them. You live. You live.

Years and years, and we celebrate her 100th birthday. They ask for her secrets. I wonder. Smoking? Eating fat? Talking to plants? I lean in to kiss my grandma. Agbiag kayo, Lola Mommy, I say.

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