We went to see my grandfather

A stop before a three-hour drive home.
A subject I, at fourteen, avoided.
A hospital.

I walked in last,
stared at the tiles on the floor until I was nudged to say

When I looked up, I saw him.
A gown. Wires. Tubes. Shadows from an overhead light.
My mind saw him die and I cried.
No words.

He frowned —
scowled, maybe.
“Get out of here with that!” he yelled.
I remember him raising his arm up to shoo me away.

My mom gave me the keys to her Expedition.
I sat there
trying to find air.

When she joined me, she asked,
“Why were you crying?”

My thoughts intercepted
by arguments and counterarguments shouted across a crowded conference hall.
Reverberating echoes off a tall ceiling.
No words.

I leaned my head on the window away from her,
watched the world blur.

2 thoughts on “We went to see my grandfather

  1. I had a similar experience with my grandfather as a teen. He was in the hospital after a series of strokes and seeing him like that caused me to flee the place and seek refuge in the car while my mom and sister stayed inside to visit with him. I never saw him alive after that. Alzheimer’s disease and cancer ravaged him and he died a few years later. I carried guilt with me for decades over not being able to bring myself to see him in the nursing home. This poem really hits home for me. I wrote about my experience in an essay on my blog regarding the darker side of hearing loss. Man, it was painful but I needed to sort it out, you know? Anyway, as always, your poetry is so vital and intense and piercing and truthful. Thanks so much for what you do. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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