Dear Grandma,

The photo albums
That I would wriggle out from the old oak chest
And unfold on your desk
To look at with you,
As your fingers would caress the faces,
I would imagine you could still smile like you used to,
You would you laugh or sigh,
And I would listen to the stories you wish you could tell me,
Are gone.
Slowly, too, you have gone, but I have not cried, even though
I clung to you and choked on my tears when your
Fluffy poodle
Was put down.
When my mom read me a picture book about
A grandpa who kept losing his keys
And would always love his granddaughter,
Even when he couldn’t remember her name,
I tried to believe it was just a story.
I’ve never wanted to face sad endings, especially real ones;
I still haven’t read the memoir you tried so hard to finish,
And I still haven’t asked what happened to your sparkly clip-on earrings.
I forgot stories you would tell me as I would put them on, wanting to be like you.
I still want to be like you.
So please, tell me the things I need to know: Why didn’t you pierce your ears?
Where are these pressed flowers, this postcard-sized painting, this Mary statue from?
Can you teach me how to say “I love you,” “I’m your granddaughter,” “Remember?” in a language you can understand?
What should I have asked you? What should I have told you?
I want to tell you I played your song on your piano one last time before they took it away,
Or did you already know?
Because Grandma, that day, the light turned on.
The light in the downstairs bathroom with the blue honeycomb tile
Turned on
And was warm,
And I was scared,
And I was trying not to believe.
Isn’t it only light bulbs can burn out and come back to life?
And gone are your smiles, your sparkles, your music,
And the light turned on.
And your mom forgot, my mom and I am already forgetting, and my granddaughter will forget,
But the light turned on,
Warm as the hugs I wish you could give me,
Bright as the smiles that flashed from your photo albums long gone.

Katrina Keating ’16

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