2011-03-15T20:04:05-04:00March 15th, 2011|Musings on life, Relationships|

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