last night i had a dream about

sneaking you into my bedroom

without my grandfather noticing.

he can’t sleep at night

and sometimes paces around the house

so i was nervous he would see you

tell us to

slow down

 

you see

my grandfather and i go on walks at the park next door

on that track behind my old elementary school

 

this is the

place where i grew up learning

how to run away from things:

that crush in kindergarten /

those carrots hidden in my sandwich /

but mostly that body,

its skinned knees, its gapped teeth

its honesty

 

my grandfather tells me to slow down

like the words we wear in-between us

he is getting thinner

his body: those twigs

and flames, that fire in the cave of his

oversized sweater and socks and sandals

and sometimes whiskey breath, so

we make up for the space with our silence,

its cavernous smile, its waning sun.

 

slow down

and i am twelve years old

on that scooter i got for christmas

and i hate my grandfather for holding me back

and i hate my grandfather

for being old and forgetting

the urgency of my heartbeat how

sometimes it beats so fast that i want to

fall down

the way our pain makes the walls

feel a little less close

like sometimes in PE class i pretend i’m a motorcycle

just to run a little bit faster

until everything looks the same

until everything looks beautiful

again

slow down

 

on lap three my grandfather is

breathing heavy so we sit down

on the bench. when we are silent

i swear sometimes i can feel him

humming next to me, the resonance

sticks to the air – humidity.

 

my grandfather tells me that he has ready to keep going. and i suppose he is right so

i let him get the head start:

stick my hand beneath

the pebbles in the playground

bury you there – you that dream

i started having at ten years old,

that silhouette of

a body, that shadow in the sun,

that some day, that when you’re older…

 

you see i am having difficulty

translating you into a language

my grandfather understands:

you whose body my tongue has

run circles around yet still is

unable to translate into flesh, and words,

and meaning

 

he often tells me that i mumble

too fast. and i am beginning to think he is right because the sun is going home and

so are we and for once there is something

beautiful in the quiet,

the cadence of his footsteps

the monotony of our nightly ritual

and i wonder if i could still hear you

in the silence

and i wonder if i could still feel you

in the distance


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