Thursday, August 25, 2011

Exponential Memories

Exponential Memories

I am 8 and my grandmother
tries to hold my hand
as we step from the curb.
Defiant, I pull my hand
away from her protective grasp
and strut across the street.
She understands and lets me go.

I am 18 and she calls to see
if I can come by and help her
retrieve some old things
from the rafters of the garage.
Irritated, I make an excuse,
lie, and tell her that I am
already late for work.

I am 28 and I find a letter
written by my grandmother
amongst the grocery coupons
and credit card bills. She wants
me to know she is proud of me
and happy that I’ve found someone
to love. I think about calling her.  

I am 38 and I knock on her door
and wonder where she could be
in the middle of the afternoon.
Incapacitated; she never answers.
betrayed by a small blood vessel
in her brain, she lies motionless
in the back bedroom unable to cry out.

I am 48 years old, sitting alone
in the dark. I long for a hand to hold
or a loving voice, on the other end
of the phone, that is just happy I called.
I think of when we listened to the Beatles
and the many times we played catch
because my father was just too busy.



Eden Baylee said...

I was brought up in part by my paternal grandfather and was fortunate to have him in my life until I was 13.

Before I was even 10, he taught me how to use power tools and I helped him build things (he was a carpenter).

Even to this day when I pick up a drill or any tool, I remember the lessons he taught me. He occupies a special place in my heart, and your poem reminds us of how grandparents should be cherished when they are alive, for they are with us for much too short a time.


Anonymous said...

this broke my mum died a few yrs back and I often wonder if she knows all I wanted to time has passed I have come to believe those who pass never go to far, a piece of them never leaves the ones they love...a scent, a sound, a breeze, little reminders they are near.

she knows, she knows.

Claudia said...

reminded me of my son who is 19 now and my mom calls every once and a while and asks him to help her something...but usually he grunts and goes...guess he will be thankful one day..good write steve and hey...good to hear about your book...

Brian Miller said...

killing me...we never really appreciate what we are losing in that pulling away until we get there and already ours are starting the same cycle...this was heart felt and painful man...

Pat Hatt said...

We truly never do know what we have until it's gone. Really dug down deep with this piece, wonderfully done.

Jannie Funster said...

This made me cry.

The way you spelled out the decades was spell-binding.

Please don't be too hard on yourself. You are loved.

Charles Elliott said...

Reminded me of Harry Chapin's "Cat's in the Cradle." Hopefully we can all make the effort to be kind in the present to those we will miss when they are gone -- or who will grow up to be just like us! Enjoyed your take on this very universal human problem.

Ann LeFlore said...

I still miss my grandparents so much it was very heart warming thank you so much

jen revved said...

How moving; your imagery, choice of poignant details brings her to life for us-- undoubtedly she knew you loved her--xxxj

Anonymous said...

I'm in tears. This touches me so much. My grandma raised me and every line about her here is true. I did put her off and I did avoid time I wish is spent now. You brought so much back to the surface. My writes are mostly about her if you ever read them. They are listed under recommended reads
Thanks for this real piece.
Love the Buk quote too!

Arron Shilling said...

hey - this is deeply moving and so well written - you cover the complete time span and specific events so clearly and with great poignancy - a heart rendering piece

Lena said...

Probably the most poignant piece I've read all year, in perfect format, too. There won't be a person who is not touched by this......

Anonymous said...

I cried. So poignant. I was close to both my grandmothers. However, I miss them. Always wish I did more with them but so thankful for the memories with them. Well done.


The amy said...

Great ending

ZeR0BaCkUp said...

I do the same thing with my grandma, I think should change that now!
Nice one I like it!

Anonymous said...

This doesn't happen often to me but this poem moved me to tears. Thank you!