Tuesday, January 20, 2009

You've Got To See

Nothing in my closet is good enough.
This shirt has a smudge, no chance
These pants are wrinkled this crinkled button up
I can’t do this.

Thumb through every shirt, throw five in my bag,
I’ll choose later.

Pick jeans and slacks
Packing for this is too hard
I have to look perfect.

I give myself a fresh shave
Otherwise what’s the point of even thinking about my wardrobe

My grandma, gammy we call her,
Is so sweet.
But you better shave or expect some comment on it
It has been too long since I’ve seen her
Since my college graduation
She stood cheering and hollering in the hot sun and
I was beaming
So proud that she saw me get my diploma.

And here I am packing to go
See her, to be near her and my family

We don’t do Thanksgiving in November because
My dad hates crowds
So now we do Oktoberfest in San Diego instead.

It is so far from tradition.
No set dress code or really code of conduct
But I’m scanning my closet to crack the code.

I want to look perfect for her. Have to.
Fill her gaze as she’s filled my life.

There’s a picture my grandpa took of her. Bupa was a photographer.
He took this beautiful black and white photograph of her with her head
Leaned back, hair spread out glimmering
Her eyes gazing forward
Looking like a movie starlet,
Looking perfect.
Like Rita Hayworth, like what Scarlett Johansen dreams of
Eyes shimmering, the kind that you’d hope fall on you as you walk past
The pretty woman on the street.

These eyes watched me grow up.
Saw my birth
The youngest of her grandchildren
Saw my childhood soccer scrapes, the result of first painful dates
We’d fly to San Diego to see Gammy and Bupa,
The most exciting of exciting trips.
She’d see us and tell us how big we were getting.
Gam I’m so big now
How proud she was of us
Doubtful I ever heard a judgmental word,
Unless I didn’t shave.

So I shaved
Thumb through my clothes rack again
Nothing in my closet is good enough
Thumb through my itunes trying to find a rhythm
Distract my mind
They said its pressure in the other eye this time.

The surgery on the first eye made it blind
A rare complication
But contemplating the same surgery on the other eye
is more complicated as
my mom tells us how
“we’ll learn Braille if we have to.”

I know Gammy is scared.
I know she must be.
I gave her my little golem for protection.
Little metal token from a grandchild
Little concentrated good intention
If it can’t protect her at least the cold in her palm might remind her
She’s not alone.

Nothing in my closet is good enough.

My bag is strewn about
Socks and shirts
A few ties but no collared shirts.

Two pairs of shoes
I don’t know to what to wear for the last time you might see me.

I don’t know how to prepare the last image you might get of your grandson. The image you’d carry after eyes unwillingly close
Nothing is right.
I can’t prepare for that

You’ve got to see me grow.
I don’t think I’m done yet.

Gammy I shaved.

Gammy you see the good in me and
Make me believe.

I’ve been praying all day.
They said the surgery went well
And we’ll know more when they take the eyepatch off

While fingers cross for a night
I know how scared you are, Gammy,
How bare the emotion.

I wish I could cradle you.

I want to shout that If we have to, we’ll learn Braille together.
If I have to, I’ll write Braille poetry.

We’ll listen to music for hours,
I’ll tell you puns,
Whatever you want
I want to shout
But nothing much escapes my mouth.

I just unpacked my bag back in my apartment.
Put clothes back in the closet
None of them are good enough
And I pray.

Gammy you’ve got to see me grow.
I’m not done.

Gammy I shaved.
Gammy you see the good in me and make me believe.
You see the good in me.
You see.
You’ve got to see.

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