Abigail Miller: Into the Fire

I had only been alive for six years,

my small stature framed against the sad

faces of my mourning family

positioned towards the glass window.

Usually light would spray in from outside

reaching across the painted room

and warm our fingertips.

But not today.

Today it rained soft watery drops

of mixed sadness

and relief.

My parents looked empty

kneeling beside my grandpa’s bed

next to the gray figure

laying about

silenced for eternity.

It brings me back to a year

when my dad flipped the car switch

and played the same CD

over and over again.

The same 15 tracks

over and over again

repeating, echoing, forever in my

youthful head.

I couldn’t understand

why everyone was so sad

what cancer was

and why we couldn’t go to Kings’ Island that year.

“Give us faith give us faith”

I couldn’t understand

that the life was slowly draining out of him

while he seemed so content, laying there in bed

reading me The Lorax

with his outstretched legs

and gray hairy toes

sticking out from under the covers.

“Give us strength give us strength”

I couldn’t understand

why my dad

with his painted smile

had taken to replaying

the same songs over and over again

until Bruce Sprinsgteen

was hardwired into our brains forever.

I couldn’t understand

why our family came

dressed in black, to see my grandpa

the one who I had loved so much

with warmth of happy memories of him

pressed into the empty space of my heart.

No one cried.

“Give us hope give us hope”

I couldn’t understand then.

I was only six.

But now I do.

“Give us love give us love.”

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