Saturday, November 11, 2006

Upon The Floor
She falls.
She drops to her knees,
collapses to the floor and
I do nothing to stop her, for
this is where she needs to be.
There in her mind,
she is overwhelmed not so much with gravity,
but with an absence of all support.
This and the fact that
that which she loves most in this world
lies crumpled there on the carpet before her.

The sprawled lifeless body of
someone’s grandmother.
A grandmother I’d only recently met.
A grandmother
I never had a chance to truly know.

There on the bedroom floor lies a corpse
and yet, not a corpse.
A corpse is that which you see
lying off in the distance.
Something shrouded beneath a blanket.
Something you notice as you
rubberneck past an auto-accident.
A corpse is someone you don’t know
and never will.
But she on her knees would argue that
this most certainly is not a…
No. This is her grandmother.

Yes, ‘is’.
We have not transitioned to ‘was’ yet.
That is still hours away.
Right now, ‘was’ was twelve hours ago
when she and I began our romantic outing by…
stopping in.
A slight distraction.
A diversion from the dating norm. Indeed,
I am asked to participate in the adoration of
someone I barely know.

But listen:
There will always be time
to share another’s prior life in
a shared future life.
Man that I am,
my orientation at this moment is
less love and
more that of passion.
We can always return later.
Life is now.
Our life is just
outside that door.

And there as we prepare to leave,
grandmother and daughter embrace,
and faintly I hear the elder say,
“Couldn’t you stay?
Couldn’t you stay a little longer?”
And in that short sequence of words there is
such sorrow.
A sorrow that one normally applies to an event
after its passing, yet
here it is before.
In hindsight, I come to realize… she knew.
She knew. She knew but
would not tell.

And twelve hours later
they meet again on that floor.
One dead. One alive.
Their relationship the same,
yet different.
Here in the now, we see pass the curtain of
rose tinted perception.

We wish a poetic death,
yet see this
brutal reality.
No tranquility resides on her grandmother’s face.
She did not die in peace. No.
Instead we are all granted a
final perpetual memory of a
loved one’s grimace of agony.

My memories?
My relationship to these two women
collapsed on the floor before me?
I am insignificant.
A short sweep of the second hand
compared to
that which defines what it means
to be a granddaughter.
There in her heart she has
two decades worth of smiles,
yet they all weigh the same as
the final absence of grace
now on her grandmother’s
contorted face.

And there across the divide,
she reaches forth
to tug on a flannel sleeve.
And each tender tug has significance.
Yes, there in their shared silence
a dialogue echoes
out of the past.

“Couldn’t you stay?
Couldn’t you stay
a little longer?”

©06 Jack Hubbell

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