Monday 13 June 2022

One Poem by Shelly Blankman



I never got to say goodbye. The last time I saw you,

you were a breath short of death, your eyes closed

to the grandsons you’d cherished standing by your bed.

We were all hoping our words would break through your


darkness, but we’ll never know. You died that night.

Your booming voice, your hearty laugh now silenced.

That yellow bucket hat and crumpled jacket the kids

loved to wear now stashed with memories that made us


laugh or cringe. The times you used a restaurant window

as a mirror to comb your hair, oblivious to diners trying

to ignore you. Or when you used your parking pass

as a press pass to go on stage for close-up photos


of your grandson’s graduations. And oh, those countless

photos. Never an occasion when you weren’t poised

with a camera, ready to disrupt any moment at a major event.

You visited me in a dream days after you’d died, as a man


I hadn’t known, seated in my kitchen, your hands clasped 

on the table, looking dapper in a black suit, starched white shirt,

and black pin-striped tie. You spoke softly, smiled warmly,  as if

your soul had separated from a world you could no longer own.


My dream had caught whatever sadness had haunted you, but

one sweet memory had slipped through, leaving its indelible mark.


Shelly Blankman lives in Columbia, Maryland, where she and her husband have filled their empty nest with three rescue cats and a foster dog. Their sons, Richard and Joshua, now live in New York and Texas (respectively). Following careers in journalism, public relations, and copy editing, Shelly now spends time writing poetry, scrapbooking and making cards. Her poetry has appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Poetry Super Highway, Halfway Down the Stairs, and Muddy River Review, among other publications. A couple of years ago, Richard and Joshua surprised Shelly by publishing her first book of poetry, Pumpkinhead.

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