My Kisses…or Shadows, Grandma, Grandpa, and Fish

A little poem about little me…
My Shadows written November 30, 2006
by Alexa L.
Opening the book, she said
“My Shadow” and smiled.
She looked down at me,
little me—and read—
line by line
and I followed
word by word. Breaths taken;
her hand shifting toward the corner
and my hands tucked together
at my grandmother’s side.
But her hand still lingered upon the page’s edge,
hands that moved with practiced grace,
browned spots speckled over the backs,
wrinkles embedded like trophies of experience
flipping pages.
And my hands stayed tucked away,
until I moved them to the corner too.
But I grew up.
My hands grew older.
The pages grew heavy
and the books and shadows crept to the end of a newer bed.
Nearing the edges of sleep,
I gazed at the twinkling lights outside the window
and thoughts shone through in glimmering specks of stardust:
If only life were so easy as to be almost overlooked
that we could sit as stars do.
Shine and die.
But we are not so lucky.
We do not die, we fade away
like shadows of the universe,
words from the lips of a grandmother,
or a fish that’s escaped a child’s hook.
And so I dreamed,
my mind wandering backward to where the lake
that lay behind the old house sat,
waiting for me and Grandpa.
I walked to the edge of the wood and leaned
over the water, searching through the shadows
that hid under the dock.
I smelled the fish, but couldn’t see them,
as if they were tucked between the shine of the onyx water
and the depths below.
My grandpa handed me my fishing pole,
bright red under the sunlight,
and I whipped the line outward,
beyond the shadows and the smell of fish—
to the center of the world.
I held my breath and pulled my pole back toward me
in an awkward hug,
furiously winding.
But all I caught was my shadow
and the sunlight that reflected in the eyes of me—
little me. I smiled.
Back in bed alone,
The stardust lost into the depths of night,
I woke to nothing.
My book was hiding in the shadow at the end of the blanket
and my grandmother’s hands were in her own bed,
in the shadows of her room now miles away.
But my grandpa hid beneath the dreams—
in the shadows of my past.
Note: I wrote a lot about my grandparents all through college, and even now. What can I say? They raised me.

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