#NaPoWriMo Day 1 – Still, the Blue, the Silence (a haibun)

My Grandmother, Margaret, as a young girl
(1939-1999) She is with her siblings, Gin & Skin (also pictured), now.



Still, the Blue, the Silence

It seems right that the room is blue. Baby blue walls. Baby blue lace curtains. Your lips. I give you ice chips like you ask for. I sit and listen to the silence. There is no dialysis machine to drown out the excruciating quiet anymore. I can barely hear your ragged breathing. I think about Blue Raspberry Slurpees to keep from sobbing.

On a swing she sat
Stagnant—she told me she just
wanted to go home

The adults order us kids out. We cram into my cousin’s car. Reba McEntire sings about how her whole world is standing still. I make sure you telling me that you love me repeats in my head like a broken record. I can’t move. Just like Reba. My sister and my cousins don’t even realize a country song is playing. No one is complaining. I wonder if they know, as I do, that we will never see you dance in the kitchen like no one is watching to Elvis Presley ever again.

Motown radio
provides the best soundtrack to
all her good stories

When the phone rings at our relatives’ house, I know it means you’re gone. It’s been about sixteen minutes since the last time I would ever see you. I think of watching horror movies until 3 am. The porch swings. One in the backyard, one in the front. Your red Grand AM. Your cigarette pouch. Crossword puzzles. How I swore you bled coffee. Medical devices. Catheters. The park. Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy! The sandbox…

I am in a Fisher Price sandbox looking after my baby cousins. Their mother is standing behind the screen door overlooking the yard telling me to gather them and my things. We gotta go. She’s gone. I don’t know what to do about me so I just take the little ones, who will never really know you now, by their hands. The parts of me that matter: all my things. Well, I think they’re gone with you, too.

The owl is sleeping
They wrap her in crows’ feathers,
take her to Heaven

It’s been so long I can’t remember if the room was really blue or if that’s just how everything looked. Still. The name of that song was ‘And Still‘. It seems right.


© Jennifer Patino (2017)

* Note: This poem is written in the style known as haibun. I had never even heard of a haibun! I hope I did it justice.

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