|the actual love letters my grandpa sent to my grandma when he was in the Navy.|
I light a match
the flame and sulfur
hitting my still darkened senses at the same time.
My candle dances before me now
that smells faintly of the
woods that surrounded their house and my youth.
October has spread her cool fingers across the hardwood floor
and I pull his cardigan, given to me after his funeral when I was a mere 9 years old,
tighter around me as I sit down at my desk that I found at the side of the road.
I have the old trunk propped open beside me
pictures ripe with stories frozen in frame,
his love letters spread out around me
touching her letter
dated early last week
in her aging hand.
"I may have already told you this story already..."
and I whisper in my still sleeping house,
800 miles from where the letter was penned
"Tell me again, Nana. Tell your life to me again."
You see, I am compiling the fragments of her memories,
the stills-and-frames that are heavy with the burden of the lives they hold inside,
the bits of history I research and can find
and I am weaving a place for these lives to reside.
Listening deep for the truths my grandmother has to offer
picking up my pen to make a composite sketch
of the life they built one dream at a time.
I am writing my grandparent's story.
As I wrestle with the weight of trying to capture
the sun that may set before I'm ready-
closing around with it the light I need to see clearly the one I've already lay sleeping in the ground...
I continue because for every story lost,
I have been able to save one.
I have been able to give to my grandmother the platform to remember that her life has mattered.
That someone is still listening and learning
from the road she took out of the Smoky Mountains to the edge of the Boundary Waters,
and is holding close the heartache of having lost the love that had given her the strength.
I sit quiet in this sanctuary of the past,
knowing that these stories make up mine.
That these threads make up the loom of our family history.
The sole candle both a eulogy lit and an invitation to come,
and I wait for another
line to whisper
it's tale in my ear.
As my fingers find pen and key,
I feel my grandparents hands
wrapped tight around mine.