Grandmother’s Playhouse

by Morgan Russell

picture this:  under my grandmother's playhouse sprawls  a desert full of old kitchen utensils:  metal bowl cut from dropping from safety ––  grandmother's arms ––  to the brick façade  on the way to neighbor's barbeque  measuring spoons  warped from the dishwasher  cup with a crack  from clumsy child hands    we unearth a memory of a scene ––  the desert full of spoons  watched the stars rise from beneath  a thick mesh covering ––  keeps cats copacetic,  but it's porta-potty green.  grandmother is furious but  I understand the cats, who  never got the idea    where we remember the feeling in our muscles ––  turning down the desert blanket  is inside the feel of small finger-pads  pulling at the edges of nickel button-fasteners.  revealing that we had the spoons to be,  anything,  all along    or the sound that lingers ––  the creak of the swing set chains  as sister screams higher higher  I can touch the moon!    with the words we associate with a place ––  kitchen desert safety  sister don't eat those berries!  those redolent ruby red berries    there are things that we believe to be real ––  my desert kitchen was full of flora.  stolen buds from grandmother's garden.  I was a chef, cooking to the cacophony  of sister screams    but we know are not ––  the sold sign put a hole  in the yard grandmother had so tenderly kept.  the dreams cooked up in that desert kitchen  were wisps that were bulldozed with the protective  shade of grandmother's treehouse.  I heard there's now a terrace in the backyard,  but I can't say for certain ––  grandmother's gone.


Morgan Russell is a rhetorician and poet, and her work may be found in a number of places, such as Cabildo Quarterly, Rabid Oak Issue 12, and others. She is a reader for Brave Voices Magazine, 805, and Marías at Sampaguitas. When she’s not reading or writing, she can be found mainlining coffee or babysitting until she gets into a grad program or finds a cubicle job in Corporate America.