Kevin Casey is the author of Ways to Make a Halo (Aldrich Press, 2018) and American Lotus, winner of the 2017 Kithara Prize (Glass Lyre Press, 2018). And Waking… was published by Bottom Dog Press in 2016. His poems have appeared in Rust+Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Connotation Press, Pretty Owl Poetry, Poet Lore and Ted Kooser’s syndicated column ‘American Life in Poetry.’ For more, visit andwaking.com.”
When my grandmother came to live with us
after her surgery, our dinner time changed
and we no longer sat at the table.
My sister and I had to share a bathroom,
and I had to sweep up the bits of paint
that her wheelchair would knock from the doorways
of our house–a flurry of white chips
scattered in drifts across the threshold
of the bathroom door, the living room door,
her bedroom that used to be our playroom.
At first, I needed to be reminded.
But then I began to follow behind,
watching her with my dustpan and brush,
anticipating the sound of rubber wheels
that creaked from the wood floor to the carpet.
By the time she passed away later that year,
I began to dream I was trapped inside
a snowglobe that my grandmother kept shaking,
running back and forth with my dustpan upraised,
desperate to capture each flake before it fell.
A half-ripe apple plunges with abandon
from its comfortable perch through the tree’s
layered canopy of woven branches.
You look up at the sound of it crashing
through October’s rusting leaves, its rush
to give in to a moment’s joy toward
a single bounce on the frost-scorched grass,
then to sink into the soil bruised but free.
How weary it must have grown of those long weeks
spent carrying the burden of our plans,
our hopes for an ample harvest, weighed down
even as a white-winged blossom in spring,
and all summer spent so close to heaven.