They had 47 years together
before Grandpa got swept away
on a tide of cold sweats and
They planted a sack of rattling bones in the ground.
The test tubes and charts left behind
had nothing to do with what we remembered
Grandpa to be.
We cleared all that away,
all the empty pill bottles
the special oxygen mask next to their bed –
we kept the Grandpa from before.
Grandma smiled sadly,
standing in his cardigan at the cemetery –
her feet pointed toward Grandpa’s grave
as she stared into the hills.
“He’s at peace now,” she said.
But all I could think of was
that bag of bones under six feet of clay,
the earth pushing down on him.
But not the “him” that I remember.
She wore the cardigan for ten days,
and when she wore her own clothes again,
they were just
She seems less now,
shrinking into whatever black she wears today
and I wonder if she still sets his place,
or turns down his side of the bed.
I wonder how it is that they’ll
find one another in the dark,
together again in the family grave,
when the dirt is just so heavy.
This piece appeared in Ex Calamus’ sixth edition, themed “Reunion”. You can download it here.
02/07/2010 at 7:01 am
I really love this poem. Its so sad but its really honest as well, free from cliches it just has this really nice quality about it. Originality might be the word i’m looking for 🙂 looking forward to reading more of your work!
02/07/2010 at 8:07 am
I think this is the first bit of writing I’ve read of yours and I really liked it. The calm rhythm is nice and makes it easy to read. I agree with freedomtights, it’s also really free from cliches.
Have you read this aloud?
02/07/2010 at 5:17 pm
hey, thanks for the positive feedback guys!
Shan – was planning on submitting this week for EC but had a last-minute deadline come up, so it depends whether I can knock that over first.
Ben – thanks! Have read it out loud to myself, I originally wrote it for Littlefoot but didn’t end up reading it last time as I was feeling a bit unconfident. Perhaps at the next one. It’s got a lot of room for silence in it, and I like that 🙂
06/07/2010 at 11:14 am
read it at littlefoot this weekend!!!!!! I agree, it’s lovely.