Monday, January 10, 2011

Pillow Talk

He’s telling me about his grandparents,
the ones on Denny Street in Lawrenceville,
how he used to go over there all the time
and how close he was to his grandmother.

I know this. I’ve heard and seen it. Seen it
on the mornings of the anniversary of her death and birth.
But watching him here, now,
laying in bed, over wine, after sex,

I think that it must be nice.
It must be nice to be able to stir up that emotion.

I think of my grandfather,
who died when I was six.

Things I remember:
his smell.
Now, I know it was beer, but then it was
just the scent of the only other man that came to our house.
That he ate mayonnaise sandwiches
and my mother wouldn’t let me have one

and that he wasn’t going to see my kindergarten music show,
so I sat on the floor of my kitchen,
drumsticks in hand
and I sang at the top of my lungs, about Indians and the Old West,
and I did the pussywillow rhyme,
and beat the sticks in rhythm on the
cheap linoleum of my parents kitchen,
knowing it sounded better with the whole class on the hardwood of the stage.

There will be the things I find out after,
the cruelties that family can do to each other,
his sickness,

but that is not the same, that is someone else’s telling.
These few moments,
these are the things that belong to me.
It was 1982. And he would be dead by the following year,
and this will be all that I carry after that.

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