poetry by j matthew waters

a sheltered life

my grandfather aka pop
snuck into my dream
alive on his deathbed
in kewanee illinois

I’d not seen him
for fifty-four years

he looked remarkably well
except for his teeth
which were wooden
& painted white

two siblings followed me
sneaking through a back door
at the hospital
climbing staircases the public
didn’t know existed
racing through hallways
like cartoon characters

finally finding him
he was wide awake
looking as healthy as an ox

seeing him reminded me
of the pile of leaves
I’d fall into from the sturdy bough
the straw hat he gifted me
pepper the parakeet
heat-seeking his shoulder

though he was dead
after all these years
he was evidently happy
I’d brought him back to life
at least temporarily

april two thousand twenty-three
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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2 thoughts on “a sheltered life

  1. Wonderful weave of imagery… all somehow (in my mind’s eye) underlined or perhaps haunted by the white wooden teeth. That accent seems to ensure that the reader doesn’t slip out of the dream.

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