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The book The House of the World has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and is now available on Amazon.

Grandma’s Present

Somehow, Christmas comes
when we most need it.
I remember Grandma,
when she took me down to River Street.
The day was dark,
an evergreen that time of year
in Savannah, near Christmas.
She held my hand tight,
and asked if I was cold,
and I said no, and yanked my hand away.
Then I took hers
and we walked slower
so as not to tire her.

She kept talking to Grandpa,
who we’d visit in the cemetery,
and she said,
this child’s got to see Santa Claus!
And I remember some kind of parade,
people hollering,
my Grandmother pausing
to take a breath.
And once I even saw my breath,
like a ghost,
but maybe that was some other time.
I thought I was leaving myself,
and got scared.

But I did see Santa Claus,
and I think it was raining,
but no one paid attention,
and then we stopped for a cinnamon drink,
and Grandma asked
what I wanted for Christmas.
I remember I said, you Grandma.
I don’t know why I said it,
but she got crying,
and I cried,
and I learned something then.

That Christmas and Grandma
were the same thing.
What I got that year I don’t remember.
Don’t matter.
Now I take some holly to her
at Bonaventure Cemetery,
and put it by her head
next to Grandpa,
and tell her again,
I want you, Grandma.

Published inIndex of all Poems