Things We Hold Close
By Aniya Greene
This piece reflects upon my relationship with my grandfather. His lasting presence in my life is a part of my personal history, one of the many things I hold close.
It is the same couch but somehow different Eleven years ago, I Watched soap operas with Grandma Your home was my jungle gym Climbing on pipes On summer mornings Too early for you to walk me to the park It is the same couch in new walls Your one room farther west We watch baseball now I try my best to keep my eyes open Halfway through the fourth inning You share your Bible verse with me You turn on that lamp The one that formerly sat next To your old recliner Decorated with its gold shade The pages of your Bible illuminated By yellow light Book of Psalms Your most loved verse The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want I think of you now as I ride the bus Past 125th Street Trips to Magic Johnson Theater Movies of my youth that you Shared with me I pass 119th Street Your home Knowing I should Be there with you On that couch Pass Marcus Garvey Park To see the swings You pushed me so high Thinking back then I could touch the clouds You taught me to swing myself To elevate So that one day I might fly high enough To touch the clouds What comfort you get from your Bible You hold it close Psalm 23 Proverbs 12 Those I may never know You tell me stories, call out verses Offer to accompany me to a Sunday service I go when you ask, rarely on my own. I go because we share time Time on the couch Watching baseball games That seem to have no end I go not because I pray before bed Not because I have verses Memorized Although perhaps I should It must be a sin Not to love God Like you Disappointment When you look at me Pain in your heart I see The prayers for me Have they been wasted? Nevertheless you keep praying Reading your Bible verses For me in case I decide To set my heart free But what comfort your voice brings me Pained by the thought That someday I may no longer hear it And like my grandmother’s I'll have no recollection Of the sound I save the voicemail messages The mundane “I’m just calling to check on you” “Aniya, it’s me” Your voice takes room in my phone I hold onto them for years Like you hold your Bible And in the meantime Save our time on the couch
Aniya Greene is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in New York, NY.