Tuesday, December 28, 2010

smell of absence

Here's one I wrote a couple of years ago. I'm in the mood of it right now and it's coincidentally seasonal. It occurs to me that I may have posted this one before which causes it to occur to me that I should create an archive list for the poems I have included in this blog. Look for said list in an upcoming page with links to the original posts. (Because I just know some of you have favorites that you would like to read again and again and again and again.) So, whether for the second time or the first, here is . . .

Grandfather After Nineteen Years

I knew you in the grocery aisles,

In the butchery bloody with steak.

I found you in the back counting boxes

Of cereal, at the register frowning.

I remember your store for its smell

Of absence when the fluorescents

Fizzed out like soda and the placard

On the door was flipped to Closed.

In the house underneath, when the den

Was dark with Christmas lights,

You called for your rifle and fired

Into the Blue Ridge foothills.

Deaf, I waited for the moment

To make sense. Needing the toilet,

Not daring to budge. Your scope

Brought me close to the beast—

The struggle up, the final buckle,

And also, now I know, the fragmented

Whole of our meantime lives:

Each malaise and renaissance,

Each –ectomy, suture, and December

Ever since. And always—ears pricked,

listening—the preserved and looming

Bust of the eight-point buck,

Its dead eyes following me.


  1. whew! intense. smart & beautiful:

    "Each malaise and renaissance/ Each -ectomy, suture, and December/ Ever since."


  2. As always, Hannah, I am glad you like my work. I consider your comments as high praise.