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Recollections on What Would Have Been Grandma's 108th Birthday
By Adrian Slonaker
Grandma brought my brother and me on afternoon walks
through a silent sunlit cemetery–
not to pay any respects,
just to stroll,
crushing limp, papery leaves, twigs with gnarled hangnails of bark,
and communities of tiny estival critters
as we wandered.
Through overlarge glasses, I peered at stern tombstones,
some recent and slick, others weather-wizened,
reading names and numbers.
Family members slumbered neatly together,
not bickering abrasively around the table
like our brood.
Some of those morbid monuments were created for kids like me,
nine years old or even younger.
Did sickness kill them?
Could it happen to me?
after cups of crème-de-menthe-drizzled Sealtest ice cream
and Mr. Roarke and Tattoo on TV,
once Andy and I had climbed into the Hide-a-Bed in Grandma's guest room,
I'd have nightmares.