My Grandmother’s Kitchen

by Jillian Holness

Yellow daisy wallpaper is clouded in steam

from the grits cooking on the stove.

In the oven the biscuits are

slowly beginning to rise

in preparation for the margarine and preserves

that will cover their fluffy insides.

Pieces of bacon pop and sizzle

as my grandmother transfers them to a plate,

easily avoiding splashing grease on the tiny blue flowers on her bathrobe.

My mother and I walk into her home

not needing to knock because the

door is always left unlocked.

I take my seat at the chair whose back leg

is being held together by duct tape

As my mother offers to help,

but is shooed away.

The tea kettle hums breakfast is ready

as my grandmother shuffles back and forth,

setting the dishes of food on the table.

Finally, she takes a seat and bows her head

I fold my hands, trying not to pick my black nail polish.

My mother sighs and folds her calloused hands.

The wrinkles in my grandmother’s face tighten when she

sees no ring on my mother’s finger,

a constant reminder that she didn’t take heed to her advice.

My grandmother’s voice is soft but not wilted as she begins to pray,

like the hem of a well- worn dress that has begun to unravel.

I can hear a women’s voice stumbling over a word as her hand traces a sentence,

voices protesting,

an over joyed crowd chanting “Yes we can!”

Besides the clink of utensils,

we are quiet.

My grandmother rises.

Her fuzzy dark hair falls forward,

as she uses her fork to scrape food into the garbage can.

Pieces of bacon and a spoonful of grits fall.

I look at my plate and see that bacon also remains.

She smooths down a strand and I touch mine.

I wrap one of my curls that my mother tried to convince me to straighten numerous times

around my finger and let it spring back.

My mother notices and rolls her eyes, before returning back to her plate.

I take a bit of bacon and let its salty grease fall on my lower lip.

Looking at the yellow wallpaper, I smile.

The edges have started to peel and the daisies have turned gray

but it’s determined to stay on the foundation.


Jillian is a sophomore journalism major with minors in fashion media and marketing at Kent State University.