March 15, 2011

Love song



He went there to sing
for his wife’s grandmother.
The place smelled sour
like an old stairwell, scrubbed
but the piss lingers.
The residents looked waxy
and slack, like they had all just
woken up.

He sang a few oldies to the grandmother
and she sang along quietly,
a  toothless back-up.
Then she asked for the same song again,
unaware she’d just heard it,
and so he played
it over and over
until her head fell back
mouth open in mid-song
fast asleep.

He would have left
tiptoed out guitar in hand
but a voice
old like tree bark
screeched out a command:
Hey, good-looking, get back here and sing me a pretty one!
Her face was like crumpled tinfoil
lipstick seeping into a hundred tiny streams
around her pink mouth.
Under thin yellow hair
patches of scalp revealed
as naked as breasts.

He pulled up a chair in front of her
she smiled
winked and wheeled closer.
He didn’t play Oh Susanna and Daisy Bell
as planned
he played one of his own
a love song
and as he sang to her
she wheeled even closer
and he leaned in
her eyes not blinking
he imagined her young and desirable
and he sang to that girl
staring into her eyes
that he later said were as bright as eyes he’d ever seen
and when the song was finished
she didn’t move
and he sang another
until her eyes closed
not asleep
he knew
just knowing this moment would soon be a memory
and tasting it already.

He found out months later
that she’d died
a few days after his visit.
They said they didn’t know
she was dead
for hours
because she just lay there
smiling.

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12 comments / Add Yours

thank you …very very beautiful

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Oh the young beauty inside that old shell, juts waiting for that release!

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this moved me. having gazed into a stranger’s eyes, deep into their soul, i felt the aliveness, the compassion & the gift that was exchanged between two infinite spirits. thank you for sharing.

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Simply beautiful … my heart aching and soaring with the humanity and compassion so elloquently shared.

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When you have been there…….you know the smell and the look
but you also know the joy that a vibrant young soul can deliver
the smile says it all……..

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lovely. sad. true. profound connection.

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Wow that gave me a tingle along
my spine.. Thank you for waking my soul.

Reply

sounds like a “Braddan Ballad”, well done!

Reply

What a beautiful story. That Pete’s a charmer.

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