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73 Judith Vollmer My Grandmother's Rags My grandmother watched for Louie the huckster & potato sacks he saved for her, wrappings for boxes sent to the town I couldn't pronounce, Rzeszow, south of Krakow. The work took all day, sewing rags around the box edges, then the sewing of the name. Grandmother's fine spidery hand moved across the address square, fifteen stitches per inch. My grandmother came from the old country and sent back dresses with plastic belts, delicate rayon scarves, packets of coffee & Camels tucked into white shoes. For herself she saved the paper from bread, jar lids & rubber bands. Her daily work began with rags. Menstrual rags for her daughters even after bleaching bore sepia clouds, and clouds of steam Ufted as she pressed rags for the bed for whatever she coughed up during the night. She loved anything paisley, & cheesecake from Rhea's Bakery & the tissue around the cake which she kept beside clove & cinnamon, & the good rags. I saw her use only one, the lace handkerchief on weddings & the hot, bad days, wrapped around a potato, arthritis medicine, for its fresh magic. ...


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