In a crowded train to you

In a crowded train to you
for my grandfather

I can close my eyes and still
feel the warm hugs of last year’s Summer;
taste the ocean’s salt on my tongue.

If I shut them long enough,
I can see the summer leaves folding into Fall
only to be comforted by the winter snow.

With the promise of a new Spring
outside my window, the pain of losing you
lay still in the darkness with me.

Tears-drowned eyes strain to relive and record
the images of you as easily as I can the seasons.
These forever imprinted within my heart.

I can smell the halo of medications and cleansers
looming over the ruckus outside your room;
close yet far away from us in this moment.

Most of all, I remember your hands on that Spring day;
wrinkled over by experiences but, as smooth as the
softness of your smile when you saw me.

I remember how you laughed when I called you handsome
in your new jogging suit with your fresh haircut by Uncle Jimmy.
I remember telling you this and meaning it.

I replay this last time that I saw you;
not long before the phone call to tell me that you were gone
and after the reality that this would be the last image I’d have of you.

So I hold it close wrapped both in guilt and fears of fading.
Placeholder for a lifetime of memories not acted out
for a grandfather I barely knew back then.

Today, I’m alone in a crowded train of strangers.
My eyes shut closed and heart wide open with
memories taking me back to you.

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