On my kitchen floor
I attempt to shape
My ugly purple blob
Willing it to look like
Grandma smiles and laughs
When I show her my creation.
She engulfs them with her hands
And begins to mold them.
I’m intrigued by her old crinkled hands
I absorb their misshapen monstrosity
And bask in their gnarled features.
Why are your veins so purple?
It’s because I used to smoke.
But Dad smokes and his hands don’t look like that.
Nobody smokes like I used to smoke.
How did you used to smoke?
I smoked three packs every day:
One before work
I continue my keading
But this time around
The dough seems a little bit thicker
A little bit heavier.
Why are you so good at this?
Her noodles are perfect
each one that emerges from her hands
Than the one before.
I used to work in a noodle factory,
All we did was kneed dough.
Is that why your fingers are always bent?
Is that why you can’t flex them?
I look at my grandma with solemn eyes.
She smiles back
Her deep wrinkles framing her
Small graceful face
It’s okay. She says.
She looks at peace
I turn around to get more playdough
When I face her again
I see a tired young woman
Hands white with flour
Back hunched over a mountain of dough
Anxious to fulfill the day’s quota
Wishing more than anything in the world
For the end of the day
And a long, slow drag
On a cigarette.