GRANDMA WAS A DRAGON Brooke Thomas College of Charleston
How you combed your tongue, picking off the nits of English and feeding them to your daughters. How they grew up not knowing that the zashiki warashi were moving their school books when they weren’t looking. How your black hair fell out and came back white like you’d seen a ghost in the mirror of the medicine cabinet. How the dragon became a darkened sewing room, an empty kitchen window. I ate the little piles of salt you left on the bases of the porch columns when I was young; how there’s still salt in the back my mother’s antique buffet, one grain for each evil spirit to ride home, you said. Sometimes I think you’re gone because the spirits ate you. Maybe those salt piles really did keep them away, and maybe it’s my fault you’re gone. The statue of St. Joseph my mother buried is still in the front yard, even after we sold your house to strangers who leave salt in the shaker on the table. How they look out the kitchen window like it’s a piece of glass rather than the mouth of a dragon’s den as they sit down for supper.