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Three Chopt Road and Iris Lane


ISSUE:  Spring 1976
(Dedicated to the memory of my other grandfather b. 1867
d.1938
)

This is the corner where he kissed me
thirty-seven years ago
and stepped into a Yellow Cab.
Off to New York City
to negotiate some business
which turned out
to be dying.

I remember through the window
how his hair was ermine white
above his blacktail eyebrows.
He was prince-like in his
pince-nez and the velvet collared
coat that I had watched him lay out
on the dining room table
and dab with balls of cotton
soaked in Carter’s blue-black ink
to cover up the worn threads
on the cuff.

It happened on the pavement
by the Waldorf in New York.
Just walking down the street
(a policeman told my mother
by long distance)
he stopped
and put a finger to his forehead
and said “Oh.”

“Oh,” is what my mother said
too, but my grandmother
said nothing.
And then a heavy hush
fell on the house.

People
came and went
and touched me on the head
as I sat practicing script-writing
on the velvet of the sofa,
one blunt finger pushing
n’s that rolled too much like
m’s to make Anne
a name
that I could smoothe away
and then write out again.

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