by Andrew Riutta

My grandmother
must have brought it over with her
from the old country,
the recipe for making a home:

stacked bibles and tarpaper

a can of Crisco

then three feet of snow piled on top

a corner for the sewing machine

a spot to hang Jesus

the creak of every door that opens and closes

the word for hope in Finnish

a stiff finger to break the soil

one apple tree

two daughters

a dead son

a faithful husband

Finally, a Formica table
to roll it all out, to flatten the dimensions . . .
to bring heaven closer to the earth.

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