When the Grandchildren Come to Visit
The minutes in the day become forgotten
like the one before you walk down the aisle
standing there with
your hand in your Dad’s arm
crooked like a delicate blue heron.
Would you like ice cream, you ask them, only so
you can see their round
small hopeful faces eyes closed
spoon grasped between thumb and forefinger,
the taste of sweet cream on their plump lips.
Let’s hide in the magic house where there are trains
hidden and a mat with tracks and round windows
like portholes out to the green and brown tales in the woods.
They think we are invisible and so we are.
Together you put tiny green wooden cows in train
cars and ferry them all over the rubber mat to Jersey
and Guernsey and your hippocampus.
Watch your grandson dive so deeply into the water
because he wants
you to watch and each time he
surfaces his eyes search for your joy in him.
My mother says store up your good memories
so you have them
to think of when you are dying.
I wouldn’t mind a slow death if I had more slow days
where the most important thing is to play marbles
on the grass or raise and lower a wooden bucket
filled with gravel.
Each time the same gravel, the same song, the same minute you will remember.
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