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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.