Todd Robinson

Praise the Grandmothers 

For their Astroturf porches and papery laughter welcoming you in.
Praise their Christmas-tree skirts and ceramic gnomes sleepy under
the azaleas. Praise their candy dishes twinkling like jewelry boxes.

Praise their kitchen bric-a-brac, their buttery breads and gooseberry
pies. Praise their costume jewelry, chunky as Betty Rubble’s. Praise
their appliqué sweaters and goofy toilet-seat covers. Praise “We aim

to please. You aim too, please.” Praise their silk flowers and faux
sparrows. Praise their doilies and tchotchkes, refrigerator magnets
cued to the seasons. Praise their perms, refreshed every week. Praise

their plastic glasses and the pink lemonade therein. Praise Canasta.
Praise their bird feeders and cardinal parties, their tidy bedrooms
and abridged novels. Praise their pristine linoleum. Praise their spider

plants swaying in macramé harnesses. Praise their immaculate garages.
Praise their highballs and sugary spaghetti. Praise their ancient lips
uttering arcanities: “Jeepers! My oh my! Say!” Praise their ethnicity,

scrubbed nearly clean by America. Praise their men with craggy noses.
Praise their trips to all fifty states. Praise their coupon-cutting. Praise
their prayerful faith. Praise their soft hands holding on to yours,

eyes watery and weird. Praise their pastel pills in frilled paper cups.

Praise their soft forms under afghans sleeping. Praise the photos
of strangers smiling from nursing home walls. Praise the letting go.

Todd Robinson‘s poems have surfaced most recently in Sugar House Review, Houseguest, Chiron Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, and burntdistrict. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he read for Prairie Schooner and served Ted Kooser black coffee. He has taught for the last ten years in the Writer’s Workshop at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.