Thinking of my grandparents, I stand for a moment on the curb of a street they often walked, the old walks cracked and chipped, and I want to call out to them, as if they were climbers just ahead moving across rock and fields of ice, rubble in the slip of years past.

But if they spoke, would it only be to say, watch the path, here a climber fell, and there another, into the dark heart of the world?

The day of my grandmother’s funeral the boulevards were full of rain, and grandfather’s a year later, came in deep June, just as the roses he had planted forty years before, had thrown their blossoms across the porch. By then, though, their friends were mostly gone and inside the parlour furniture was worn and the frame house smelling of old clothes and old people.

By then too I had heard that great pulse, closed my eyes, and stepped forward, right at the icy edge of their certainty.