I breathe in the stale Reds
as my grandfather’s head falls
back in the ashen recliner,
a lit cigarette resting
in the corner of cracked lips,
overrun with ash as it slowly smolders
from blazing red to forgotten gray.
The lit tip tilts, hovering
undecidedly until it falls
and singes his terrycloth robe, hissing
like water on flame,
beneath unblinking, vacant eyes,
everlasting black, an oil-on-canvas Van Gogh.
The echo of a voiceless laugh lingers,
strained from years of cigarettes,
wafting amidst the swirling remnants
of smoke, his arm slumped over
the armchair like a broken marionette
while cracked time sits on his wrist
near the tray of soiled cigs, fragments,
whose lights no longer burn.
Lucy lies, broken,
in her chipped wooden house.
This little doll whose glassy eyes
reflect my six-year-old self,
features pronounced, distorted.
Her plastic eye hangs
limply by a single stitch
on a wilting head, eternally slumped,
a defeated daisy after a storm.
This little doll who sits lifelessly
in the tiny chair built by my brother,
asymmetrical wooden legs
attached with globs of Elmer’s like
a real-life Picasso.
This little doll who dazzled
in homemade glittered gowns
sewn by my mother,
whose sequins have now dulled, ripped
at the seams.
This little doll who hosted
parties with pitter-patters,
doll feet dancing
to Aqua and Alanis Morisette,
the same cassettes that sold
for two quarters, a yard sale
This little doll who sat
with her little family in fixed,
on the miniature scarlet sofa,
once a rosy red, now shrouded
in dust and imprinted
with the weight of three small figures,
an echo of what once was.
The nomad of the sands,
discarded, abandoned, forgotten like
stories of the past.
by the hands of the sea, forever
scars across ivory skin, but still
it wanders, searching
amongst the sands and seas,
a resilient warrior, bearing
its wounded armor with pride as it shines
brighter than even the diamond sands
in all its broken beauty.
A Life Well Lived
I remember the times
from a life well lived
of snorkeling and surfing
waves in Kauai, crystal blue
scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef
with dolphins and dugong
of skydiving, wind chilling my face
among flocks of gulls
of journeys to old Europe
and vast green meadows
with cragged castles
beckoned by the London Eye
traveling through a history book
while indulging in bread pudding
ears consuming sweet accents
of old friends and champagne cheers
in Times Square at midnight
dazzling lights of
the echo of my grandmother’s words echo of my grandmother’s words
that “every life is a journey,
an unwritten book, waiting
for its pages to be filled”
as she passes on
her adventures for me to take.