IN THE HEYDAYS OF HIS EYES
(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
 
 
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MY EARLIEST MEMORY

Emily Rader

My only grandpa is lying On a tattered couch In the black living room. I'm watching his swollen belly Rise and fall In a dirty t-shirt. He looks like Santa Claus In a way Only with less hair. His stomach inflates and deflates Up and down, And, oh God, he wants a hug, And Mom and Grandma want me to hug That swollen belly. A quick hug. The last hug. We had driven on icy, isolated freeways For twelve temper-breaking hours So Mom could talk to her mother In hushed, harsh tones In the dimly-lit kitchen covered with Familiar pea-green wallpaper, And so I could hug my only grandpa One last time. I can still remember, as a three year old, How reluctant I was to hug him, How terribly reluctant.

 
 
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