A Tribute

On gray days like this one

The air thick and humid

We drive, circling the city streets

smoke winding before our eyes



Today, like many others,

I hug the park perimeter

lean right, steer across the bridge

and halt at the curb.

Inside the gray house

with the barren yard and stubby

crumbling stone wall

Grandma sits in an armchair.


Shades drawn, the light is a dark musty yellow.

She is pregnant.

There is no father like there is no lamp

Only the armchair in yellow light.


I don’t say a word

but take her to the hospital

–more like a super mall decked

in plastic palms, wishing fountains and grease.

Her room here has white linoleum floors

and a bed spread in white sheets.

It is dark, too

Except for the white glow peeking through the blinds.


There is a complication with the birth

explains a man in a white doctor’s coat.

She needs staples in her stomach

I nod silently.

She lurches at the staples

Blood sprays from her stomach

It fills her mouth.

I close my eyes,


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