Andrew and GrandpaI remember.Andrew and Grandpa by Irixian
Snow fell relentlessly from a steel-grey sky and my car was warm and quiet in the stillness. There was something alien about the eastern half of my grandparents' street, not because I hadn't driven over it hundreds of times, but because it always carried a sense of going away from them.
Perhaps then, more than ever, I felt it carrying me far afield.
My son was shouting in his tiny, four-year-old voice. He was jubilant that he had scored three stars in one of many Angry Birds levels and he wouldn't stop talking until I turned and nodded to him.
It was easy to lose myself in his joy. He didn't understand why we were going to this new building to see great grandpa or what he would see when we arrived. He didn't know what a stroke was, or the ravages of dementia, or why falling and bumping your head when you're 82 and on Warfarin is different than when you're three and do a header off your skateboard.
All my son knew was that we were going to see his beloved great grandpa, and
Happy BirthdayMy heart remembers the first timeHappy Birthday by Irixian
our eyes found one another.
I was five and you were nine
and we chased one another
along the banks of the Tigris river
while our mothers carried water
in red clay urns.
It remembers the second time as well,
the panic in your face as you
pulled me clear of a Centurion's horse
driven rabid with disease.
Your breath smelled like oranges,
bitter and sweet as you stroked my hair
and dabbed tears from my cheeks.
The third time our paths crossed
I was rescuing you from a cage.
I struck the life from two men
at the cost of my arm.
You bound my wound and sang to me
for three days until the
fever blew the flame from my candle.
My ghost watched you grieve
by my graveside.
Centuries slid by in a cacophony
that kept our spirits from touching.
I painted blue men and fractured images
as I clawed the black ether between days,
unsure as to what it was
I knew I lacked.
And you bore the weight of small minds
and brutal hands, but somehow
kept your heart from harm.
neo-Freudian idealsin 1886, Sigmund Freud employed free association;
the idea that a sick patient, terminally crippled with a nameless plague,
could list off the reasons why his bed sheets had holes in them.
paraphrased: the art of free speech.
my mouth is a gun and your name is a shooting range.
damp grass, our backs, semantics.
the psychoanalysts say we establish long-term memory
by stringing it all with prior meaning.
a flurry of sweatshirts and ripped jeans, stroking skin
in sign language only lovers speak.
hands, tongue, everything else.
Freud said that sometimes, a cigar is only a cigar.
i tell him how smoke spilled from your mouth into mine.
stale breath and gentle fingers probing, squeezing,
i trace my steps back to the night we crushed leaves into potpourri.
the scent of cold coffee permeated into the forest,
the tree roots soaking up our caffeine.
i remember you most clearly in the heartbeat between page turns.
you are full and real, the lump in my throat.
you are the holes in