Lisa M. Dougherty

You Understood Something Other

For my grandfather

As the heart of a Tiffany lamp, …
the soldered seams
of what appears broken, fixable.
How your worked hands
Bent and arthritic
From years of kneading,
Still hoisted a wheelchair
From the back of a station wagon,
Scooped her rigid body
Every morning as she woke
From the bed you built
Of 2×4’s and mesh screen,
To keep her safe;
Crushed the Frosted Flakes
With the bottom of a cup
So your granddaughter didn’t have to chew
Too much. Her teeth were pulp,
And I’ve had to fish her denture
From a bag of stool.
But still, we would annoyed look at you
When you told us how to do
The smallest detail of every day,
And the weight of a washcloth
With the burden of drool. You lifted
When you heard her voice,
The unintelligible coos.


Lisa M. Dougherty is the author of the chapbook Small as Hope in the Helicopter Rain (Cervena Barva Press 2018), and has published poems in Congeries, Lake Effect, Redactions, and in the anthologies Alongside We Travel:  Contemporary Poets on Autism (NYQ Books 2019) and Double Kiss: Stories, Poems, Essays on the Art of Billiards (Mammoth Books 2017). She lives in Erie, PA with her husband Sean and two daughters, Amara Rumi and Andaluzja Akhmatova.