2022-02-10T10:55:10-08:00March 15th, 2011|Musings on life, Relationships|

Love song

He went there to sing
for his wife’s grandmother.

The place smelled
artificially sweet
and 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
her patches of scalp
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,
he played one of his own,
a love song,
and as he sang to her
she wheeled even closer,
her eyes not blinking.

He sang hard,
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
so 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

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