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Victoria Mar 21
In quiet nights my grandma cries
We talk of death and people’s eyes
We miss our words, she sees a vein
I ask her, but she’s not in pain
Bruce Adams Jul 2019
She collected lolly sticks,
        The ones with jokes on them:
        Why did the chicken cross the road?-type stuff,
Which she stained brown and used as floorboards
in her magnum opus.

The Tudor house was the best one.
It had servants’ quarters
And a kitchen with little hessian potato sacks made
of something or other she salvaged from
somewhere or other;
And the floorboards looked so real:
        painted lolly sticks
        but almost evoking the smell of varnish,
        layers of polish on a floor trodden by centuries
        in perfect miniature;

This was the last of the three
                                                or four
                                                        doll­s’ houses she built;
The devil’s work for her idle widow’s hands.
She built this one while you were entering your final
that doomed dance that sits so permanently
on your conscience
like a sack of compost
full of water.
        (I choose this simile only because
        I found this in my garden yesterday,
        and it was ******* heavy.)
On paper it was simple:
        You gave her your house,
        She gave you hers.

And so her house shrunk around her and
became a dolls’ house of your own making,
                        she saw your god-hands reaching in
to manipulate and
extort her.

She was wrong, of course.

You were making good on your promise.
You would come through for her in her frailty.
You did – but

it was a promise you made more to yourself than her,
And she let her illogical mind
        never analytical to begin with
        now razed and blinded by grief and loneliness
                        (there was nothing to work with)
poison your good deed,
you were both dolls now.

Eight years later she died lovelessly.

She retreated into her sitting room
        the only part of the house that stayed the same
        after you moved in –
                the walls closed in to contain it
                constrict it
a hospital bed and vinyl chair with commode,
and the brown laminate floor
        just like
        her lolly sticks.

You administered painkillers
Admitted the nurses
Negotiated with your estranged brother.

but her paranoia rotted everything
and your hands cared with compassion but not love.

Gone, now,
the dolls’ houses remain.
An inheritance of clutter
in a house you bought.

You answer the phone
      ­                                  aggressively.
You have been heaving the big one up the stairs
        that sack of compost
        that heavy conscience of yours.

You will be heaving those ******* dolls’ houses around
until I have to buy your house and care for you.
But I am telling you now:
        I am putting them in a skip
        the moment I have the chance.

They are not imbued with the joy they gave her
any more than
                        by keeping them safe from landfill
                        you can imbue them with the love you withheld.

They are painted lolly sticks and sewn hessian.
They don’t contain any more of her
than the bits of paper she kept
        passwords and bank balances
        dates and instructions for the Sky box
There is nothing left of her to protect now.

Open up the hinged false front,
                tip out the miniatures
                let the little figures be free,
                                be landfill
                                (isn’t that what dying is anyway?)
all the tangible things she touched and loved
are not avatars for her touch and her love.

The past is not present through the preservation of objects.
The past is not erased by the advancement of time
                nor can it be undone by corrective action.

Now she is on the other side of the road,
        (why did the chicken
She has no further use for the things she left behind.
Lacey Clark Sep 2023
On my journey to my grandmother’s, the landscape holds my attention with subtleties.
Muted hues of soft lavender, pale brown, and ashy green painted outside the dashboard. Everything peeking out from a gentle coat of dust.
Yellow weeds and thistles dot the golden hills.

This corner of the country feels like a cherished family heirloom. The color palette resonates with my only sense of familiarity. Maybe it is my fixation on the colors themselves that buffer any sense of grief I carry towards instability.  None of us in my family have claimed permanency in structure. Yet, my grandmother’s home is a sanctuary.
this house has recently been demolished
Psych-o-rangE Aug 2023
1 I attended with my new suit
1 I barely made it to and back
1 I watched from a screen
1 I missed the train
1 I've been preparing for

2018-2023, 5 years.

I'm 25 years old
My dads getting old too
My mom I had to convince to come
Eyes of familiar faces to watch me stand or stumble
I just want you all to know, no matter what, I love you

A son, step-son, brother, half-brother, nephew, grandson, grand nephew, boyfriend, partner in this same suit
You made me who I am

Farmor, especially you.
Farmor means father's mother/grandmother in Swedish
Anais Vionet Jul 2023
It was a cool, overcast and windy Sunday morning in March 2014. We were about 50 miles from Paris, at my Grandmère’s (grandmother’s) farm. She lives in Paris, but she owns a Château and surrounding 1,100-hectare farm that she calls her “fall retreat.”

Between three and five hundred people work on the farm, the Château and its surrounding shops (some work is seasonal). The shops sell wool, cheese, wine and ice cream produced on the farm, as well as touristy things. Many of the employees live on the farm, rent free. Their homes, owned by the farm, form a hameau (village). I didn’t understand much of this at the time, I was 10 years old.

My Grandmère was dedicating a new store just off the village green. The green wasn’t square, like those in the UK and it didn’t have swings or a slide, as I’d hoped. You’d think I’d know a hamlet my Grandmère owned but this place was alien to me. I’d arrived as part of her entourage but as the presentation ground on, I got bored. So, I took Charles by the hand and off we went.

We (my little nuclear family) were living in the UK then and we were visiting Paris for the Easter holiday. The fall before, as the school year had started, a girl in my grade (4th grade or year 5 in the UK) had been kidnapped and murdered on her way home from school. My Grandmère was “having none of it,” and hired Charles, a burly, red-headed, just retired, ex-NYC cop, as my security, escort and practical nanny. He’d been with me for about half a year, at that point, and we’d become fast friends.

It was the height of the pre-summer, Easter season. In addition to the villagers, there were tourists everywhere, picnicking on the grass, visiting the shops and playing football (soccer). Most of the tourists seemed to have small children that ran around. The townspeople sat on benches, eating ice creams and playing dominoes or quoits, a horseshoes-like game, played on a sand pitch.

You couldn’t mistake the two groups - the natives and the tourists. The towns folk were plainly dressed, the women in simple smocks and sweaters, the men wearing slacks, tweed jackets, berets or tag hats. The tourists spoke other languages - there were Italians, Britts, Germans and even Americans - who wore sports logoed t-shirts, shorts, sneakers and baseball caps.

As Charles and I wandered around the village, I asked, “Can we get a sirop?” One of the most popular drinks, in France, is a grenadine sirop (soda). We stopped and as Charles bought us drinks, I wandered a way off. He found me, moments later, hanging from a tree limb, upside down, my hair sweeping the grass like a broom.

“Stop that,” he’d said, swooping me up and off the branch with his soda free hand and setting me alright. As he picked leaves out of my hair, he said, “Don’t wander away from me like that, you know better.” “Yes sir” I agreed. A moment later, he picked me up and placed me atop a low, four-foot parapet wall that ran around the village. I could feel sharp, rough stone edges through my cotton dress but I drank my sirop and didn’t complain.

“You saved me from the dragon,” I said, after my first few sips.
“What dragon?” he said.
“The dragon that had me in its teeth, over there.” I pointed at the tree where I’d been upside down.
“I saved you from yourself,” he said, as he looked around the square.
“That’s silly,” I announced, “how can someone need saving from themselves?”
“Oh, It happens all the time,” he said.

The event ended and as people began leaving, they filed by us on the sidewalk. The village men doffed their hats and the women nodded a quick curtsey as they passed. “Why are they doing THAT?” I asked Charles, “am I a princess?”
“No,” he snorted, “you’re no kind of princess. They’re doing it out of respect for your illustrious grandmother.” “Oh,” I said disappointedly.

A moment later our car pulled up and we were headed back to the city. “Did you have fun?” my Grandmère asked, “yes mam,” I answered. “Did you behave yourself?” She followed up. “Mostly,” I admitted. She nodded, pronouncing, “That’s how it should be,” as the limo turned onto the autoroute (expressway) and accelerated for lunch in Paris.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Illustrious: a person that’s highly admired and respected.
luna Jun 2023
her softly rounded face is defined by lustrous black silky hair that is covered with white silver hair, and light wrinkles encircle rose-tinged lips and calm black eyes. clothed in a yellow flowered daster that matched the blossoming flowers around her garden she matched in perfectly. her presence, brings out blossoms.

her voice, which is soft but unwavering, has had a significant impact on my existence. when i was young, my hobbies were drawing and painting. when i went to see her, i always got excited to show her my latest masterpiece. she would compliment my amateur stick figure portraits and paintings as if i were the next van gogh while staring into my eyes thoughtfully and patting my head. after that, we would make my favorite dish for our noon meal together. the aroma of the food causes me to experience strong sensations of being hungry. her way of preparing food is delicate, much like the way she loved and cared for me.

her skin has become more wrinkled and her form has become more stooped as the years have gone by. her hair has become even more white. even i have been changed. i don't like arts as much like i did before. despite this, my adoration for my grandmother's timeless voice has not diminished through the years.

her wellbeing has been tested over the past few months by challenges that cannot be avoided. my fear stems from not knowing what will happen in the future. as we fast forward several years or months from now, will there come a point when she no longer recognizes me? or, what's even worse, her own name?

as i sit here in my memory garden of happy times, i can't help but wish i could wake up to the sound of her voice. these days, i find myself aching for her presence more than ever. that's how barren everything in my life appears right now. i hope i can tell her that i don't believe the old cliche that "time heals all wounds" since i’ve felt the same sorrow for far too long to believe that. i can't stop thinking about her, and it hurts to cry every single day. there has been a lot of change in my life, exactly how much effort should be made is beyond my grasp.

the enticing scent of her perfume has become less prominent over time. i am well aware that one of the most heartbreaking parts of moving on with life after a grief is that, as time passes, memories start to fade, such as the sound of her voice, the fragrance of her clothes, or the feeling of her arms wrapped around me. and do you know what's even more worst than that? it's the feeling of missing her voice, but at the same time it's the voice that i just couldn't seem to remember at all.
luna Jun 2023
when i thought of love, my grandmother was the first person who popped into my head. there are so many moments from the past that i wish i could rewind again. throughout my childhood, my mother would typically take me to visit my grandmother when we were on summer vacations. these holidays were all about the unconditional love, the aroma of freshly cooked food that causes my mouth to water, and the joy of enjoying time with one another alongside the enticing scent of flowers dancing with the wind under the sun. and how could i ever forget the delicious chocolate chip cookies that my grandma would give me along with a steaming mug of milk when i was a kid? that could be impossible! the heavenly taste of those cookies, which i am reminded, were always prepared from scratch, is still very vivid in my mind.

her life was a rich tapestry, and love was her important thread that linked it all together. her smile and touch are like a ray of sunlight; she does everything with love, which is what makes the difference in my life and makes it worth living. when i needed someone to depend on and my eyes were welling up with tears, i had her to count on, and she would drive me away from my fears. despite all i'd done something bad, she was my brilliant sun, softly comforting me when i couldn't see the light.

as a consequence of the way that nothing in this world is permanent; everything is constantly changing. the once-clear blue sky has turned a somber gray. when she was taken by the angels from above, there were no more tales to tell. the memories of her smile, her warmth, and her love— it was all that mattered in the long run collapsed like a butterfly on the ground. when you lose someone, it feels like an attack. nothing can stop that person from disappearing in a heartbeat, no matter how hard you try to hang on. regardless of how desperately you try to hold them, they'll leave if they choose to go.

can you imagine a pain that was so buried within you? you can't conceive what it's like to feel something so deep inside. because whatever you do, you can only be wounded when they go. it is impossible to convey my misery on a plain paper using words that can be written down. the stabbing torment that extends from the soles of my feet all the way to the peak of the ceiling; that is the agony i am experiencing— the inability to think and act right.

i was lost.

every day, i'm confronted with hurdles that don't appear to melt away. i needed to be strong for the other people. i want to scream and cry but i feel like no one can see the emptiness of my soul. i kept on clinging on you to keep me sane yet thinking about us makes me feel terrible; i want to shut myself away and grieve alone. but the fact that you were beside me is what keeps me from going sane.

the memories of our time together are kept in a box. there are the butterflies i had when you were close to me, and now they are trapped in a cage of melancholy and guarded by a tear. you held my hand with such softness while we watched the sky all night. but still i sense there's something in your gaze. if you could only see, the way you tell me you love me and that we are meant to be together is gradually crushing every part of me. despite i may sometimes say or do hurtful things to you, know that i've loved you in every part of me. i put a lot of care into hoping that you are are always aware of how much your presence in my life means to me and how much of a difference it makes.

even when i am trying to protect you from getting hurt and act sanely, i still make mistakes. i want you to know how much i cherish and adore you because nothing else in my life compares to the feeling of being loved by you. saying goodbye isn't easy; there is a slew of unanswered questions. our love was pure and blissful for us at the time, and i can still remember our first kiss. everything, though, came crashing down in an instant. letting go is something i fight against with, but it's the only cure i've found for this disease—

to spare you from the pain and
to prevent the death of my heart.
her sun spots bragged of
summers spent reckless
and her silver locks of
once box dyed glory.
her drooping skin bragged of
first kisses and a hundred men’s touch—
from her so-called “glory days.”
her plump figure bragged of
children bore and
lovers loved and
a thousand lives lived.
in this old age I deemed her ageless—
having lived more in one lifetime
than most could dream to do in four.
Anais Vionet Jul 2022
I’m FaceTiming with my Grandmère, we touch-base once a week. I love that face, wrinkled, like wind-weathered driftwood, and she’s a wag.
“Are you familiar with the ECB?” She asks.

I wince at this odd turn in conversation, “Not REALLY,” I say, searching my mental index of useless facts and cross-matching those with her interests, “the European Central Bank?” I reply. “Oui.” she says.

“Let’s see,” I begin in a bored voice, “Inflation – transitory or persistent?” I say, in my best TV news-reader voice. “No,” I chuckle, “Not really, I have REAL, boring-things I’m learning about.”

“You’ll need to - one day,” she says, like a tarot reading oracle.

“I can’t imagine why.” I said.

“I’m writing a few sentences about you!” I interject, to both change the subject and see what she says. She’s the only one in the family who knows I write.

“Oh,” she sighs, “Am I young, immoral and reckless?”

“Yes, you ARE,” I assure her, “you’re the worst.”

“Good," she confides, “I miss those days.”
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Wagish: a wag is a clever person prone to joking - wagish is behaving like a wag.
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