When Next We Speak
by Kristy Gherlone
For all of the grandparents we’ve loved and lost
When next we speak, you’ll talk to me about the weather. Overdue rain to follow a long dry spell. Garden soil and almanac predictions.
When next we speak, you’ll talk about the kids. Chorus concerts and disappointing grades. Ballet recitals and piano lessons. Your words speak of a future that doesn’t belong to me. My time was in the past. When you speak of the weather it’s not the rain I think of. Its weathering the trials of life that come to mind. Those times I suffered and those blessed times when the sun came out again.
When next we speak, you will perch anxiously on my chair, awkward and anxious, careful and cautious, avoiding eyes that you once sought out for comfort
When next we speak, you’ll ask me what I want. What do you want? What will bring you solace? That’s what we should talk about, when next we speak.
When next we speak, you’ll pity my wrinkled face, though you and I both know you gave me some of those badges. Don’t pity me. I’m proud of them! Perhaps you picture yourself in my shoes, years from now, but they are proof that I have lived! I’d do everything again. Life was worth every wound.
When next we speak, there will be so much to say. I’ll want to share everything with you, but it will be tough to breath. I’m being called. I hear his whispers with every breath I take. I know you hear it too.
When next we speak, it will probably be the last time, though we’ll both lie. So, make it good! Please do not weep. I want you to remind me of the good times. Tell me how I made you feel, how I have touched your life. I want to hear the music in your words. I want you to remember those times we shared.
When next we speak, please tell me you love me because the last time you see me, it might be too late.