Bite More / Taste Less -------> (Ramblings)

Ramblings of a alleged realist, supposed poet, and apparently ambitious something-or-other.

Papaw


When someone dies all of a sudden

their life flashes before their eyes all at once,

but when the doctor tells you

you have 7 months to live,

you can take your time

and watch your life like a movie.

.

I’ve never seen my life flash before my eyes

but yours did once

when dad showed me your home movies,

your memories, that had snuck out of your head

and into the boxes in the attic.

.

As I watched your life

I imagined you watching your life

I imagined you sitting up in your bed at night

and turning on the television to watch the

life that was leaving you.

.

Here’s the part where you’ve just been born

right after the opening credits

Your parents are the executive producers

and God is the director.

.

Hear your sepia-toned cries

see the vinyl of your skin

feel the wooden stare of your father.

.

Here’s the part where all twelve of your

ol’ country siblings are wrestling over

corn cobs at the long plaid dinner table.

You’re brown as a shovel from working

those fields.

.

Here’s the part where you and mamaw

are getting married in that old

brick church in Yadkinville. 

Your smile is a downpour of stubborn love

and her smile is a stained-glass umbrella.

.

Here’s the part where your first son is being born

red and glowing, like coals.

You’ve finally become an executive producer

and your pride weighs too much for your eyes

and it presses itself into tears

that are now swinging from your brow

like pendulums

like plastic mobiles

that you’ll hang over his crib.

.

Here’s the part where you’re building that church

with your bare hands

and here’s the part where my father is dancing

on your lap.

.

Now I’m sitting on your lap

my hands on the tractor steering wheel

your hands on mine.

The wind is running its fingers

through the tall grass

like you used to do with your hair.

Seth is standing at the top of the yard

waving his hand, screaming “Me next! Me next!”

And the grass is waving its hands and

screaming “Me next!  Me next!”

Here’s the part where you somehow fit both of us

on your lap

and we cut the hell out of that grass

even with all those hands on that wheel.

.

Now here’s the part where your hands

won’t work anymore

when your fingers won’t turn the keys

or grip the shovel

or run through your hair.

And the doctor is telling you

that you get to watch your life come at you

slowly, then through you, then past you.

.

Here’s the part where your sons love you

but they have to put in the nursing home,

because there’s just nothing else they can do.

.

Now

here’s the part where you fall asleep

in front of the television

the scenes still skipping by

the colors and people

bouncing off your glasses.