Our neighborhood corner granny had jury duty for two weeks in August of 1985. She had to stay in a hotel and family could not bring her meals, not even a bundle of yeast rolls. After six hours without her watchful silhouette, the alley filled with Coke cans and damp leaves. Cats chased cardinals without fear of reprimand. Some kids spit at an elm tree outside the bar. A gust of wind knocked an angel statue onto its face and nobody had the manners to stand it back up. We speculated about what sort of jury would seat our corner granny. She spoke in adages and superstitions. Wore a hair-colored sponge at her nape, corona of bobby pins the exact shade of her fringe. Everything she owned smelled of garlic, even her dogs, curled at the foot of my bed for two weeks. I could tell the dogs missed her but also loved my waxy stamps of American cheese. The newspaper printed a crude sketch of the courtroom, but jury box smudges looked nothing like corner granny. After school I let myself into her apartment with the key stowed in a plastic rock. She had instructed me to run the kitchen tap once a day, fill the birdseed in her swaying gourd. When the trial was over (guilty, manslaughter in the first degree) we all watched corner granny step out of a yellow cab. Chipmunks retreated to their holes. A damp flag attempted to dry itself in the breeze.