R.E.M. Ember

by Lawrence J. J. Leonard

The smell of the heat on the sidewalk reminds me
of the very warm hearth where grandpa loaded firewood
onto smoldering embers that set the pile ablaze.

The chill of the day was a mere memory in his care.
All the festive doilies and paper flowers in the den
dried beyond their years, yielding colors that nature envies.

The last shiver of cold was drop-kicked into next year
as we passed by his recliner and heard grandma’s voice
calling form the kitchen, above the spread of homemade candies.

It’s been too long that I have wallowed in the smell of smoked meats,
and candied yams that were so sweet, just smelling them on the stove
made me feel as if I were already at the dinner table liking my spoon.

There is just no substitute for grandma’s hugs. They cover you in joy.
She would refuse to let go because her love knows no bounds.
I thought I would die when she finally let go, and so I hugged her again.

The tea was cold and sweet, the hot chocolate full of marshmallows,
and the secret wine was only served if I feigned a need for the tonic
because I had just driven through windy, winding roads to get there.

Maybe it was the laughter that brought me down every year.
That kind of belly quivering that makes you feel like you can’t breathe
and when you are finally able to, you find a way to laugh some more.

All that in an instant, just from the flush of impudent heat 
by the pale grey sidewalk, cooking my soles as I tour the street
and reminding me that I long for autumn more than I ever did for summer.

Miss you grandma and grandpa.

Copyright © 1960-2015 Lawrence J. J. Leonard  All rights reserved.

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