Posts Tagged ‘grandfather’

My grandmother asked me that night

to sleep with her in her bed.

Though I was thirty-something,

I knew little of loss. I remember

the great weight of her as she slipped

into the soft white sheets—

a mountain inside a woman’s body.

I wore a long flannel gown with tiny violets

and she a thin flannel robe, slightly pilled and well worn,

with tiny embroidered roses.

We hardly spoke. She did not cry.

Any night stitched with that much sorrow

will linger in the heart for a lifetime.

I did not hold her—nor did she seem

to wish to be held. And when I return

to that night in my mind, I don’t try

to rewrite it. She sleeps on her side of the bed.

I sleep where my grandfather used to sleep.

I listen for the eventual slow tide of her breath.

But I am not the same version of myself

who shared a bed with her then.

Now, when I lie down beside her,

I know something more of how vast

an emptiness can be. How it can feel as if

a whole garden has been ripped up by its roots.

How sometimes in the dark, though we know

there are stars, we simply can’t open our eyes.

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