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Lena's Bridges

She lay still. My book crossed my lap, unread. The windows told me of the passing time with light and shadow co-mingling across her room. When had we spoken last? I figured and counted. Weeks. Months. She had said all she had to say about her travels across 93 summers, three countries, two languages, fields beyond her mother's tavern, her new name at the island, tenement hallways, mobster boyfriends, bickering children, matzah brei recipes, locked doors, and fading perfumes.

The light switch easily cast out the gathering dark illuminating the hollows beneath her eyes and cheekbones. She had said nearly all she had to say about her broken nose and lost pocketbook, Tam Tam crackers, soldiers, and the scorching sand skirting the Brooklyn tides.

And then this. Words. Too quick for unsuspecting ears. I wrestle with the monosyllabic memories. It was "Too many bridges." It was "So many bridges." Syntactically similar. Semantically disparate. Which tale to tell of the final words?

"What did you say, Grandma?"

Silence only.

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22 May 2014