Written on a Napkin in a Hospital

On April 11th of 2014 I began the journey of saying goodbye to Grandpa. I wrote this poem on a napkin.

Grandpa’s in the Hospital

ding of an elevator

whir of some machine

whispers, wails

laughter, mute screams

rolling carts

squeaking doors

unforgiving clocks

strange odors


meds and tubes

white walls

waiting – waiting rooms

in shaded sunlight

there he sits

pale as his sheet

dimly lit

92 winters

91 springs

91 Septembers

he let freedom ring

taking leave on a train

spots a pretty face

partners on the dining car

numbers exchanged to trace


hints of marriage

sent the ring by mail

to save on postage

the rest is history

so they say

22 grandkids later

I’m here today

watching history

rest in bed

too tired

to lift his head

at some point they’re letting him go

home to his own chair

or so they said hours ago

how much more time

with him?

I don’t know

I played some hymns

a private concert

on my violin

he smiled, praised

soaking it in

the man who read

the chicken book

each time I came

to visit and look

at his garden

sunflowers, peanuts

tomatoes, cabbages



tin cans upside down

marking the way

to the garden

the plants on display

a not-so-secret garden

outside and throughout

the house – alive

never feeling drought

every plant that can

grows there:

asparagus, cherry

apple, bean, pear

popcorn, sweet potato

brussels sprouts, strawberry

eggplant, cucumber

wild and tame blackberry

every year they plant

every year they harvest

now Grandpa’s ill

water’s in his chest

ding of an elevator

whir of some machine

whispers, wails

my inside



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I am a 7-year-old​ stuck in a twenty-something's body. I enjoy long walks on the beach and peanut butter on waffles. If the following combinations of letters mean anything to you: OYAN, LotR, F.R.O.G., AiO, OBPC, DIY Then we can be friends. And if not, we still can be friends!

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