The girl was twenty-one,
the one who died last Friday
in my daughter’s house. Not
an overdose, my Lorraine swears
of my grandson’s girlfriend:
she’d stopped taking insulin,
screaming she could go cold turkey
even after her face swelled up
and puke spewed like a volcano.
Lorraine says she tried to get her
to the hospital, but knowing Lorraine,
she was too busy scheming about
separating me from enough money
for a shopping spree or more tattoos.
The girl’s mother — a crack whore —
accused my Lorraine of murder,
though the cops ruled suicide.
But maybe the mother’s right:
the girl maybe pregnant,
and Lorraine not fancying herself
a grandmother, with men coming
and going like subway turnstiles;
besides, too much competition
for withdrawals from me, the bank;
and my grandson freaked as a nag
rearing at the starting gate,
to be a father and holding a job.
I’ve only the word of a crazy woman
who loves drugs more than her own kid,
but that’s my Lorraine and her Lenny.
Robert Cooperman is a graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. In the Colorado Gold Fever Mountains (Western Reflections Books) won the Colorado Book Award for Poetry in 2000. The Widow’s Burden (Western Reflections Books) was runner-up for the WILLA Awards from Women Writing the West. Just Drive (Brick Road Poetry Press) and Robert Cooperman’s latest collection is DRAFT BOARD BLUES (FutureCycle Press). Forthcoming from Main Street Rag is THAT SUMMER. My Shtetl won the Logan House Award in 2012. His work has appeared in the Sewanee Review, Mississippi Review, and North American Review. Cooperman lives in Denver with his wife Beth.