The Last Afternoon Of My Grandfather
Never will I get to go, I sobbed
and willed ill on those who willed.
The slight was a pie in the face,
a third in the binary–
the crush of my relatives’ finery.
A goat in the butter, I sputtered.
I would not travel with them
on holiday. Instead, like a baby,
I was sat for, I was abided by, I was
taken care of. I stayed behind
and traced the dresses and coats
with my fingers: sashes and collars.
We were a people of ornament.
Back then, we had come from winter,
well on our way. It was March.
On the Magnolia, branches greened
and the big flowers came in like fists.
Everything moving forward
including my grandfather’s fall,
that afternoon in 1972 while I was in the parlor,
tipping my feet along the rug pattern,
and the gilded mirror showed a chip.
I sang as the grandfather clock
(was it named for my own grandfather?)
chimed out of tune and clanked its pendulum,
I danced alone, missing the last.