Harvest Gold Linoleum

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Too often I would sit
on Grandmother’s counter
watching yellow kernels
and the air popper
whirring and spinning.
Hardly I remember
the popcorn,
but the popper was magic.
And often I would
in her GM-red half-ton Chevrolet
go with her hunting
for sales and bargains
in garages across town
and sometimes
in other towns completely.
And many times
I would spend
the night at her house,
watching cartoons
over cereal the next morning –
‘Spinning the night’ I said,
but I really meant spending,
though I know it felt
more like spinning.


On many nameless days,
before need of calendar
or clock,
watch or planner,
Grandfather kept a
wooden grinder on
the coffee table
when he ate dinner in pajamas
in front of the television.
Sometimes he rolled
white bread in butter
and sprinkled it
until thickly coated
with ground table
or brown sugar,
And occasionally he dipped
my white pacifier
into his whiskey.
I smacked
and suckled gladly
the ‘whickey’ –
as I had called it.


On Sundays
Goodness, himself
drove a grand
well worn Buick,
and brought dough-nuts
and drank coffee,
with my mother
in our harvest-gold
linoleum floored kitchen.
I crept and crawled
and climbed chairs
just to peak
or touch.
I’d never seen
such a thing
or had a word for –
’Boonk’ I had called
Pastor King and his
smooth, gleamy
fleshy bald head.


On a Tuesday or
a Monday –
early to be sure,
I awoke to hear
of Grandmother’s death.
Later, not much more awake
than before our silent drive,
I saw her patchy blue
face in a sterile smelling
winter-sky colored room.
My hand refused
to touch her –
fear drove it away.
And my childhood was taken
away with the
dead lady
on that polished
steel table.



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