The Museum of Grandmothers
One grandmother stands on a pedestal, her gray hair transparent
in gallery light. Another shuffles from room to room, not willing
to remain in one place for too long. Some linger behind glass,
fingertips leaving smudges the docent wipes away each night.
In a long hallway, grandmothers give a fashion show. Three of them
squeeze into yellowed wedding dresses. Others arrive in nightgowns,
giggling at the height of their own collars. The click of heels echoes
down towards the atrium, where poker tables are set up after dark.
The grandmothers throw dinner parties every other Saturday.
They like to invite younger men to play the piano. One grandmother
mixes cocktails in the museum café, another hangs decorations
in the bathrooms. They pass around cigarettes and very dry martinis.
Children come to the museum on elementary school field trips.
They fill out surveys about the grandmothers, asking questions
about World War II, ration books, powdered milk. But these
grandmothers like the present too much to talk about the past.
They hope Beyoncé will visit the museum someday – they want
to ask her where she gets her dresses made and if she’d be willing
to sing for them on a Saturday night. It gets lonely in the museum,
the janitor sweeping up curling gray hair with his broom.
Hannah Kroonblawd is a student in the English Studies PhD program at Illinois State University. A graduate of the MFA program at Oregon State University, her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Yemassee, Sycamore Review, The Cossack Review, and The Grief Diaries, among others.