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by Tomás J. Stanton | October 9, 2017

My grandmother is one of the hardest working people I know.


Her famous words “I’ll rest when I am dead / there is no room in this world for a sloth”

Rest in my achy bones

When I find myself too tired

to get out of bed


I remind myself of my grandmother,

her hands,

and how they represent a strength

I can only hope to possess.


But her hands these days

Are far from stable.


They quiver,

along with her voice.


Arthritic, from carrying the weight of our family for decades.


Far from the hands that use to balance

Serving trays like Atlas

holding up the sky.


My grandmother waited tables late into her sixties

to keep the roof from falling in on us.


Her hands hold generations of resilience.


Orphaned at 9

During the rise of Nazi Germany.


Her mother lost in the shuffle.


My grandmother bounced from camps to shelters,

Dodging bombs and raids.


Starting work at 13.


Found her way to America at 21.


Raised five children

On tips, minimum wage, and broken English.


My grandmother doesn’t smile often,

Or ever take a break.

Always on her feet.


She's told me


"I've stared death down too many times to fear anything.


you can be poor but that doesn’t mean you have to be dirty,

Now get up and clean your room!


If you don’t make time to do it right,

Then you won’t have time to do it over

So stop rushing!


Never be ashamed of who you are

Or where you come from


Love with all your heart


Cry if needed

But never over spoiled milk".


My grandmother’s love

Is like lumpy mashed potatoes,

Smooth, and rough at the same time

But sticks to your ribs.



When I feel like the world is falling in on me

And I don’t think I have the strength to pull myself out of bed.


I think of my grandmother

her hands,

all that they have survived,

And remind myself


"there is no room is this world for a sloth".



Join us for our next Wordplay Cafe to hear more stories and poems on our theme: SLOTH.

Thursday, 10/12 | writing workshop @ 6pm | open mic and features @ 7 pm | at Volstead Public House in Downtown Mesa.  

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