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Its scent was more like the bread Grandma’s fingers
shaped, rising warm to my nose

than the ash of her Salem’s crushed in thick glass trays,
her coffee cup ringed black after

finishing a smoke. That candy jar glazed
butterscotch, plump atop her laminate

table we used for Go Fish, the cards
dumbed down below her skill. Piss

poor living gave her family Solitaire,
Pinochle, Bridge in Homestead’s slums;

games she played alone, or not. The lengths
a 52-​pack could stretch with no coin to spare.

Her eyes, blue scarabs magnified
through thick lenses, watched me flip

a queen, its sister spade inside
my small fist. Grandma grinned,

flashed her polished dentures. Her thin–
skinned hands lilac veined,

nurturing magicians, as she sliced the crust clean,
shuffled the deck, dealt me another win.

Pittsburgh Quarterly is now accepting submissions for its online poetry feature. PQ Poem is seeking poetry from local, national and international poets that highlight a strong voice and good use of imagery, among other criteria. To have your work featured, send up to three previously unpublished poems in Word or PDF format as well as a brief bio to . Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but if work is accepted elsewhere, please alert us.

Rebecca Clever

Allegheny County native Rebecca Clever is founder and former editor/​publisher of the independent online literary journal, “Blast Furnace.” She has served as a musician, composer, photographer, reporter, newspaper editor, columnist, promotional and technical writer and book editor/​designer. Her poetry, non-​fiction and interviews have been published in various newspapers, journals and anthologies. The first recipient of the Laurie Mansell Reich poetry award and a past Pushcart Prize and AWP Intro Journals Project nominee, Rebecca completed a writing residency fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center. She resides in the North Hills area with her partner, Theresa, their children and eleven pets.

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