The Old Folk's Home

They moved to a home
in the shadow of the mountains—
true to form for the mountain of a man.
Grandpa was large
but the room was very small.

I remember the walls,
they were cream and smooth
and matched nicely with the old
green couch they’d brought with them
from life before,
all striped and flowered
and worn into place.

The air was a mixture of citrus supplies
and contraband chocolate
hiding in Grandma’s left cabinet door.
A small back closet
held a few changes of clothes
and rows of gray folding chairs
they kept for visiting hours
when they’d be passed around in circles—
chairs and chocolate
served with soft chuckles and love.

Grandma lived her life in the dark
but she knew there was light
shining from twelve pictures on the wall
where a hundred faces smiled
just for her.
She felt her way around the room—
left at the recliner,
straight at the TV stand,
then right to a waiting child
who hugged her both soft and loud.

To walk in the room
was thick with emotion,
like breathing in love
and choking on fear.
Fear of a life without them.
Fear of an empty room.

Grandpa was a mountain of a man
and I was there the last time he left.
The room was changed without him there,
all cold and purple hued.

Grandma lived her life in darkness,
but the room was never dark
until then.