Love and Words

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A while ago,

I was sitting in one of those

overpriced coffee shops,

talking with strangers,

about the strange things 

that happen in life.


And we talked about this.

And we talked about that.


And  we talked about

longing,

and desire,

and hope and dreams.


And we talked of our grandmothers,

and the things we remembered

from life long ago.


I told them of mine.

A small woman

who had fled the Scotian Side

to become a dancer in New York

with the man that to this day,

is referred to only,

as the one with the white buck shoes.


And they lived.

And they loved.

And they danced through the early hours.


Then my grandfather,

answered the call to war.

And he went off 

to share the years of his young life

not with his bride,

but with rats and dead men, 

and muddy dark holes,

and one small bullet

that came in just beneath the edge,

of his young and beautiful head,

and changed him forever


Returning home,

my grandmother

stopped dancing,

and smiling,

and laughing,

and instead

made a life for the two of them

in the woods,

by a lake so clear,

you could see the stars

resting on the sandy bottom.

And there was room enough

for the things that haunted him

to occasionally roam.


She lived the rest of her life

next to this man

she no longer knew.

The rages.

The darkness.

The crying nights.

She lived her life

held in the arms

of the ghost

of a man who danced

in flashing white shoes.


When I knew her,

I knew only that she was quiet and strong.

Quick to laugh and then bury the smile

beneath a frown.

 


And she would swim in the warm air.

Getting up at dawn 

she would go to the lake

and walk 

until the choice was drown,

or pick up your feet and swim.

And she would swim,

all the way 'cross,

then lay on sand

until it was time to swim home again


She told me once,

right before her death,

long after my grandfather had passed,

that for years 

she had been haunted by a dream.

In it,

she was young again,

dressed in reds and blues.

Her hair marcelled.

Her skin so firm.

In the dream she was standing at the edge of the lake,

And she could see 

my grandfather, 

beautiful and strong,

standing on the other side,

beckoning to her

to join him.


And in her dress,

she stepped into the water,

always so much colder in the dream, 

and she would swim.

And swim. 

Until she reached the other side.

 


But when she climbed out

and shook the water 

from her eyes,

she would look,

but he was no where to be found.


Turning back towards where she had begun

she would see him,

so beautiful and strong,

standing on the opposite side,

beckoning her to join him.


And, 

she

would

swim.


All night.

In her dreams,

she would swim.

Never reaching the side

she wanted to be on.


Such things.

Such hope.

Such desire,

and dreams,

are what make life

such a

beautiful, 

and 

passing thing.


Because I am,

I know you are.


Because I am, 

I know you are.

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decagon          poetry

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