Monday, March 8, 2010

Dear Grandma Katie

Would it make you sad to know
I don’t remember much about you
except your sweet, old-lady smell;
your collection of tiny, ornate perfume bottles
that so impressed me; hand-in-hand
walks to Mosquito Park; the inhuman patience
that let you hold a peppermint in your mouth,
without crunching, until it disappeared?
Would it make you sad to know I remember
more vividly, in the summer of your death,
slipping my hand in the open crack of a screen door,
wrapping my small fingers around a gold bell
and, in the clumsiness of my panicked getaway,
losing it amid the clovered trench?

This poem was written in response to Poetry Prompt #116: the time of your life on Read Write Poem.

        Do you have a friend or relative who you can barely remember because s/he died when you were very young? What do you remember about him or her?


Dorkmaster Flek said...

My dad's mother. She died when I was about 5 or 6. Whenever we went to Pennsylvania to visit my dad's family, we stayed with her in their old house. She was always up at 5 in the morning, and being a small child, I wasn't far behind her. She sat with me and made me buttered hot dog buns with honey. :)

Cynthia Short said...

I believe you remember more about your grandmother than you think...just the words, "would it make you sad" shows the loving relationship you had with her, otherwise you would not have cared about her feelings.
Very tender and poignant memories. You accomplished a truer example of the prompt than I.

Derrick said...

I like the very smooth hinge that you created here, echoing the first line.

Julie Jordan Scott said...

I wrote about my grandmother also... started with a letter in my morning pages notebook. It was such a rich, emotionally charged meeting.

I wish she could answer my questions.

pamela said...

What a sad and image filled poem. I never met my grandmothers, so reading this I feel the loss so strongly. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

The peppermint is a great touch. That really gives me a bit of her. (my grandfather handfed squirrels, another sort of patience)

Peter said...

You know, you encapsulate here what I've always felt around my own grandmother but never articulated -- never had it come to the surface of my mind. What would they think about our limited, child-centered memories of them? The fact that they don't mind may have to do with their faith in their imprint on their own children (our parents) who then influence us.

But I don't know; I'm not a grandparent yet.

Anyway, a wonderful thought, wonderfully expressed!

Alexis said...

my mom's father, my lolo. he died when i was 5 or 6 of alzheimer's. he was super dark and was in a wheel chair, most of the time. i would watch him being at family gatherings at my house in the summer through old home videos. i remember visiting him at the hospital more often when he started getting worse. once on a rainy night my sister, mom & i were waiting for the bus to go to the hospital. i was playing in a small puddle on the corner until a truck drove past through an even bigger puddle & soaked me from head to toe. i cried. the nurse gave me a gown to wear while my clothes dried on the radiator & i sat with my lolo on his bed. he gave me a kiss on the head, called me yolanda (my mom) & cuddled me. i fell asleep til my dad came to drive us home. unfortunately i never got to know him as a person but from that experience i knew he was a nice old dark man in the wheelchair.

Karen said...

I really like the poem and can identify in that I have only one true memory of my grandfather. Other memories are planted by pictures and old family film. I love the touch of stealing and losing the bell.

Tumblewords: said...

A wonderful response to the prompt. I don't think she'd be sad, at all. This is a lovely poem, the loss of the gold bell is so vivid.

Raven's Wing Poetry said...

I love how you weave the sense of confession throughout the entire piece (your repetition of "Would it make you sad to know"), and how vividly you show us your grandmother in just a few short images...and then leading up to the purloined and lost bell. This is absolutely powerful, compacted in such a small space.