Where He Left

Poetry by | December 25, 2016

The room smelled like the pomade
Grandpa put on his hair
the moment
he got out of the shower.
The vines he used to trim
in the mornings
had crawled
to the grills on the windows
from the rusty gate
where he stood by
as he watched
me and my cousins
play hide-and-seek
along Almond Drive
on Sunday afternoons.
Mama was cleaning out
his medicine box
when I realized
all the containers
had not been emptied out.
Uncle carried
the plump luggage
to the top of the closet
filled with naked hangers.
Grandma could not seem to fold
the blanket on his bed
the way he used to do it-
corner to corner, edge to edge.
Tony Orlando started squeaking
when the CD player played
“Tie A Yellow Ribbon,”
but Grandma listened
and danced with the air
in the same way
she danced with Grandpa
at the wedding reception
of their golden anniversary.
I hold this scarf
that he wrapped himself in
as he sat on his wheelchair
one windy afternoon
when we drove him
to the beach.
Nobody dared to sit
on the rocking chair
in the balcony
where he used to nap
during sunny days
that reminded him, he said,
of the Panglao beaches
where he used to play
when he was young.
But now he’s rested
somewhere peaceful,
where I could no longer
massage his feet
as he rocked himself to sleep.

Marie Crestie Joie Contrata is a Creative Writing student from the University of the Philippines Mindanao.

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