Franki Elliot

Miss in Polish

by Franki Elliot

My grandma can’t tell you my name
but she knows I live in Chicago.

She knows I have a brother,
and he lives in Chicago too.

She adjusts her hospital gown and says,
“You tell them I’m not ready.
I’ll show them.
I’m gonna live another couple years.”

You drove me all the way there,
through washed up towns and stretches of oil refineries.
Wore a nice sweater and shiny shoes even though my family
isn’t the kind you have to impress.

I liked that.
It made me feel safe.
It made me feel like I meant something to someone.

Sitting in the waiting room reading
as strangers whispered grimly into telephones,
you said, “This is the perfect book but man,
is it miserable in here.”

When I go back, the hospital room is freezing and
the doctor stands with a clipboard,
asks her what day is her birthday.

She said she knows there is a four in there somewhere.
I know it because it’s the same birthday as Hitler.
I don’t think she knows that. I hope she doesn’t know that.

And my grandpa has never held my hand
before until today. He has tears quietly running down his
cheeks when he says, “How’s the violin, ponnie?
Still playing?”


Franki Elliot is a twenty-something author from Chicago. Originally self published, Piano Rats sold out of it’s first printing quickly and was soon picked up by Curbside Splendor for an October 2011 release. This is her first book. Franki’s favorite artist Shawn Stucky provided the cover art and book design.

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