my grandmother had a serious gas
problem.
we only saw her on Sunday.
she’d sit down to dinner
and she’d have gas.
she was very heavy,
80 years old.
wore this large glass brooch,
that’s what you noticed most
in addition to the gas.
she’d let it go just as food was being served.
she’d let it go in bursts
spaced about a minute apart.
she’d let it go
4 or 5 times
as we reached for the potatoes
poured the gravy
cut into the meat.
 
nobody ever said anything,
especially me.
I was 6 years old.
only my grandmother spoke.
after 4 or 5 blasts
she would say in an offhand way,
'I’ll bury you all!'
 
I didn’t much like that:
first farting
then saying that.
 
it happened every Sunday.
she was my father’s mother.
 
every Sunday it was death and gas
and mashed potatoes and gravy
and that big glass brooch.
 
those Sunday dinners would
always end with apple pie and
ice cream
and a big argument
about something or other,
my grandmother finally running out the door
and taking the red train back to
Pasadena
the place stinking for an hour
and my father walking about
fanning a newspaper in the air and
saying, 'it’s all that damned sauerkraut
she eats!'

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