New Poetry Project: "Why My Grandmother Lives In A Lantern"


Because she didn’t want a boring urn or to be scattered to the wind or buried like a camp fire. Because I was trusted with her beloved son’s remains and he resides in a fashionable vase befitting his impeccable taste. What is the final resting place for a woman who lived so many lives? Who survived religious fanatic parents, a drunken abusive husband, an impossible daughter, illnesses that should have killed her long before cancer at age 89. Who cleaned houses, motel rooms, hospital bedpans, washed others’ clothes to make ends meet. Who loved to go honky-tonking, drive cross-country, take up with younger men, answered to the nickname Moom Moom. Who, after the diagnosis, pragmatically planned her own funeral to the letter except this one thing. Who said, just leave me in that plastic box they send you back in until you find the right place. So I did, and it sat for days on my coffee table, a monolith, as I awaited a message. Then I stubbed my toe on the iron lantern that had been sitting next to my door for two decades, always empty and in search of purpose, without light. I turned the lantern on its side and opened its hinged door, sat the bag of ash and bone atop the opening. After a moment, the bag quivered then slipped inside like sand passing through the neck of an hourglass. Home at last and decidedly un-boring. Sometimes, when the evening light is just right and dances across the floor, it catches the lantern just so and Moom Moom glows inside. Because as vessels go, I can think of nothing more appropriate than being a guardian against darkness.

This poem is the first of four new works that will appear at Modern Confessional and across social media as part of the New Poetry Project 2.0. ©Collin Kelley, 2017

Comments

Wonderful.

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