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Here and There

It’s Christmas.
You scavenge candy. Grandma
appears behind the kids’ table.
The aluminum cups glow in front of her,
four of them lined up in a metallic spell.
Grandma hands you the blue
one, smiles, snaps at you
to take your hat off indoors.
You eat a strawberry and Grandma
laughs at your puckered face.
Someone else is in the room.
Some relative. Grandma plonks you
on her lap and blissfully monologues.
Dad laughs as you wriggle out
of her arms. You run past aunts and uncles
to the driveway and drink two-handed,
head back to swallow the cup whole.
Decades later they will find her
here on the gravel.
 
You huddle around her chair,
scavenge small talk, patch
silence. The cups catch your eye,
saved from the emptying house.
Months from now you’ll find
these cups in your parents’ house.
You remember strawberries.
She smiles, then doesn’t, tells
everyone about no one knows who.
You catch Dad’s eye and both grin.
Someone else is in the corridor.
This hallway was the only place
the staff could fit your whole family.
You take off your hat.
An old lady wanders through
the corridor’s entrance.
She asks where George is.
You grip the blue cup tight
and look into it. You can’t
stop staring at the blue shadows.
You sink into the waves.
The room blurs above you.
She says your name.
The light sharpens.
 
Someone else is in the room.
The cup is empty.
It’s Christmas.  

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