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poetry by Penny Perry

My Grandfather Changes His Last Name

At the Grand Canyon Red Rock Motel
he signs the register. The shiny Buick out front
my grandmother holding the picnic basket
boiled chicken, she glances at the paper,
the familiar handwriting, the blue ink.
“Mr. and Mrs. Taylor! Am I some floozie?
You have to write a different name? Taylor?”
She tells the clerk, “We are married forty years.”
Grandpa says nothing, steps out for the valise.
Polished shoes, a tuft of thin blond hair
slicked back under the Panama hat,
his purple shirt looks like an orchid
in the Arizona heat.

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The articles in this special section:

My Grandfather Changes His Last Name

poetry by Penny Perry


poetry by Sheri Allen

Always a Desert

poetry by Gili Haimovich, translated from the Hebrew by Dara Barnat