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SCARLET #045 Briana Campbell Florida State University

At the nursing home I paint my grandmother’s nails, getting the color in her cuticles, thick paint running off the sides, but my eyes are fixed on her pale veiny hands, bruised from the I.V.’s prick, gentle curve of freshly-filed fingernails because I want her to feel pretty lying on the sheets washed with no fabric softener, even as old age pushes her dyed blonde hair further from her head because I hope it reminds her of the beauty shop in Humboldt Park with the German Shepherd that’d visit in the afternoons, with women that had hair so high it’d peck God on the cheek, and domino games in the park on her day off, choir of old Puerto Rican men yelling about this play and score and that tramposo, and limber de coco dribbling down her chin in the heatwave, and taking the long way to get piraguas, and dancing a sweaty salsa into the night and the Mexican restaurant she loved with corn tortillas somebody’s abuela made in the back, topped with cilantro so green.

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Profile for Oakland Arts Review

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

Oakland Arts Review Volume 4  

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