Grandma Toledo never stinted on love.

She was old, I was the youngest child

in a family of seven.

Mother never let any of us sit on her lap,

but Grandma Toledo welcomed me to hers.

Wrinkled, sagging arms radiated comfort,

smelled of baby talcum powder.

Tucked in there, I could fall asleep.

No need to be on high alert against danger.


Bismarck, peridot-eyed Russian Blue cat

had a spurt of white hair on his chest

like pastry Bismarcks,

fried doughnuts with a spurt of cream on a side.

In his last elder years,

at night, purring, he leapt up on the bed,

padded over my body

and plumped down on my head–

we shared the pillow.


Like Grandma Toledo,

Bismarck kept insomnia at bay.

I could sleep the night.

3 thoughts on “Safety

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