Orienting Memory

It was just an ordinary day

in an ordinary town.

I wasn’t on a journey or a quest,

but, in retrospect, I see

the events of that day

became an orienting memory.

“Let’s just look at this, Joanie,”

my grandfather said,

and sitting there on the stoop,

his arm around me,

we looked and I saw clearly

the discarded cigarette 

I had pretended to smoke,

the dirty street where I found it,

my mother’s look of horror,

and my grandfather and I

sitting side by side…looking.

His unplanned gift to me

became a touchstone

to which I return again and again,

especially in times of

confusion or high emotion:

First the love, then the looking.




This entry was posted in poetry.

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