I was looking through some older computer files this morning and came across this poem that I had written for my daughter, Danielle, in 2003. I’m not even sure if she’s ever seen it. The weird part is that it turned up nine years to the day that I wrote it: June 14th.
I doubt you remember the night your grandma died.
I tried to walk her through it
but she waited for me to leave,
then whispered a shallow goodnight.
And when I awoke she was asleep forever.
I think you remember the day your grandma died.
It was nursery school graduation and the sorrow
was stuck in my throat
like a wad of emptiness.
The flower that I placed in your tiny hand
was her last breath of your new day.
And I cried because you were sweet
like a butterscotch kiss stuck on my lips.
I know I remember the day your grandma died.
The sun was blurry orange
as we snapped pictures
while chatter tripped over my thoughts.
I was tortured as I wondered if she knew
how much it meant
That I could lean on her
even when she hurt inside and out.
That I could laugh when she yelled,
sit the fuck down – I can’t see the show!
It’s hard to remember the day your grandma died.
Her dress still hangs in my closet
Though its precious scent is now gone.
I’m afraid that I won’t remember
her throaty quirk.
It was like a cricket chirping
nervously at nothing.
I do remember how your grandma died.
Like a reluctant child
scared to miss out on tomorrow.
Knowing that we would yearn
for her thoughtful tartness
and lament her gaping absence.
Her brave hammer tried smashing cancer
until it became too heavy a burdon
for her grip to control.
That’s when I learned to enjoy every moment.
That’s when I learned to be a sturdy parent.
That’s when I vowed
to give myself to my children.
June 14, 2003