by Kurt Newton
When the pandemic struck,
we told the children they couldn’t
sit with Grandma anymore.
There was something in the air
so small we couldn’t see it,
but if she breathed it in
it could make her very sick.
The children seemed to understand
Grandma’s room was now off limits,
but still they missed her crinkly voice
and her sweet powdery smell.
So we cut a hole in the wall
and put in a tiny window,
sealed, of course.
It was the best we could do.
The children would peek in on Grandma,
they’d wave and Grandma would wave back,
bound to her big, soft bed,
always in her flower print night gown.
Most times Grandma was asleep,
even during the day.
And when the unseen finally did
find its way into her lungs,
we didn’t know how to tell the children,
so much had been taken already.
So we took a picture of Grandma
from the tiny window, and taped it
to the other side of hole in the wall.
The children complained that Grandma
was always sleeping when they came to visit,
but she looked happy, peaceful,
so that was okay.
Kurt Newton works as a health physics technician. He grew up in a small town in rural Connecticut. As a proud father of an energetic six-year-old, Kurt is grateful that his son can visit his Grandpa at least once a week. Kurt’s poetry has appeared in Hobo Camp Review, The Wild Word, Penumbric, and Oddball Magazine. Sulochana Mahe is an artist based in India’s former French outpost, Mahe. She dissolves herself day in, day out in social work, and art. Her work includes teaching painting to cancer patients, helping them overcome their sense of being doomed. She taught art to 150 prisoners at the Central Prison, Kannur, moving their minds to the softer sides of life. Teaching art to women at a care home in Thalassery gives her joy that colors can’t.