i imagine my grandmother reading for the second time

She stares at words so long, she witnesses

               an unbecoming, where H’s are railroad tracks, and I’s

                            are the wide-roofed stations. I am my own station,

she says. Ink unfurls from yellow page

                like grain, and grandmother proclaims

                            seventy-eight cents. Then she says invaluable,

intractable. Fatherless hands

                invade her arms, her legs. They press into

                             her chest like a slot machine, twenty-five cents.

Her fingers press a page the way she reaches

               for her mother when they take her. Her skin is washed

                             and wrinkled with a yearning, unconsolable, her palms upturned

in blessing. In her will, I inherit everything

               but her tongue. A clunking train passes by my desk

                             and she is gone. A brown coin spinning into epitaph.

Juliet Lubwama is a Ugandan American undergraduate student at the University of Pennsylvania. She served as 2017 National Student Poet for the Northeast, and her writing has been recognized by the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards and the National YoungArts Foundation.