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At Gramma's House

by Angela Nuzzo

At Gramma’s house,
we sit silent at the table,
listening to Grampa tell stories
over a home-cooked meal.
She keeps an eye on his plate,
picking at her own food,
ready with seconds
before he needs to ask.
When she stands up to get me
more milk from the kitchen,
his firm grip on her wrist
sits her back down.
She looks over at me
with a small shake of her head.
We both look down at our plates
and keep eating in silence.

At Gramma’s house,
I have my own corner
where I sit and color or read to myself.
She watches her soap opera
until Grampa comes in
and then lays the remote
on the arm of his chair.
He calls her “lazy, good-for-nothin’, cow”,
sits back in his recliner
and flicks me a smile.
She looks over at me,
then goes to do laundry.
I watch him stare at the television set,
then turn back to my crayons
and my coloring.

At Gramma’s house,
I sit in the kitchen
and watch as she neatly
writes out a list.
She hands it to Grampa,
who crosses out things
and lays some money
on the old battered table.
He drives us to the store
and sits in the car waiting.
I follow her in,
holding onto her hand,
but I wanted to ask him
if I could wait too.

At Gramma’s house,
we sit around the Christmas tree,
quietly unwrapping the gifts
that she’d wrapped.
My mommy leans over
to get my next present,
but Daddy’s firm grip on her wrist
sits her back down.
I see the small smile
on the face of my grampa
and the look my gramma gives
to my mom.

At Gramma’s house,
I watch and I listen.
And I think I’m learning
how a family should be.
She once told me that Daddy
was definitely his father’s son.
And I wonder if, someday,
she’ll say the same of me.


Author's Note: This was written for a poetry slam held to raise awareness of domestic violence. I received 2nd place.

Posted on 10/23/2008
Copyright © 2023 Angela Nuzzo

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 10/23/08 at 05:56 PM

I was expecting something warm and fuzzy from Gramma's house. This is a disturbing reality check especially the part about what we learn from our parents and what we choose to pass on in our own behavior. Well done.

Posted by Melissa Panther on 10/23/08 at 07:30 PM

I like the movement of this...the underlying tension, the fall of thoughts at the end...great piece.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 02/02/14 at 03:41 PM

It's been quite awhile since I've read this. There is such a quiet undertone in this - very powerful - that makes it even more disturbing than if there were long stanzas of verbal abuse. Good to see this as POTD.

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