when I was twenty-three, I thought life was chocolate cake…
yet so many sobering faces confronted me
from the crowd that lived the longest-
no sunshine in their veins,
nor smiles in the topo lines etched in flesh
their passing like the scent of a faded gardenia
or an old musty beige house,
sadness lingered like a mist about them.
solace was my grandmother’s friend
but a clueless mystery to a boy of nine
clinging to the porcelain edge while taking a bath
as if the flood of memories would invade the bathroom
and I the drowning captain of a big white boat…
but solace slept with sadness
and I saw her sleeping at an instant
when the grey eyes drooped and the mouth dropped.
but it terrified me at six when I tried to remember the sobbing sound
that came when I closed my eyes and opened my ears in the
dead of night, the purple black.
listening to the snoring wheezing of an old one in the room beside me
and wondering if it was catching, this sobbing sound-
would I get it too when I became as crusty as the old woman?