Grandma Henry’s Chapel
A narrow row of rose bushes separated
her driveway from her reclusive neighbor’s.
Along that meager pew, Grandma knelt
and needled god, broke apart hard, dark
clots of soil with garden-gloved hands,
battled black rot and powdery mildew.
Despite Grandma’s devotion to a can of Raid,
her rose bushes were sticky with aphids.
But their ruby, yellow and coral blossoms remained
unblemished souls full of fragrance.
Now and then, Grandma left a bouquet
in a tin can of water on her neighbor’s porch.
The next evening, she’d find a small, handmade card
slipped behind her screen door grille.
She displayed the cards on the kitchen sink windowsill
where they grew suds-splashed and faded.
Once, I saw about a dozen ladybugs
whiz up from Grandma’s rose bushes and land
on her freckled, thorn-scratched arms.
She didn’t brush them away. They graced
her skin just long enough, then flew off
on invisible highways to other blessings.
By Kris Beaver
Editor’s Note: Careful couplets separate the narrative of this poem, creating an ode to a woman’s quiet life and the moments of communion that can be found in the most unexpected places.