meanings

I see meaning 
in the lovely
ways you
exist and
engage
in the world.

It's
in the way you
reminisce
about our first kiss
and the ramen noodle date
and the flirting that
grew to a
connection that
longed
for love.

It's
in the way you
sleep
on your stomach
one hand left open
for my own.

It's
your loving
touches
under the table
while we’re out
with our friends.

You called me
robust.
You called me
strong.

It's
the way you
don’t make fun
you do not dismiss
you support
and you encourage.

“I never want to let you go.”

I hope your words
mean as much to you
as they do
me.

I hope these loving
ways
mean what I
long for them
to mean.

In the next room

In one room
my grandmother begs for peace.
She cries for her mother,
screams in confusion and pain.
 
In the kitchen, he cooks dinner alone.
Smelts, fresh bread, salad, a beer.
I watch my grandfather as he moves
quiet and purposeful.
 
He fries the fish as he holds back tears.
He hears his wife cry out in pain.
His own is angry, frustrated.
He tells me,
 
“this was not supposed to happen.
This is not how I imagined the end.”
 
He sits at the kitchen table
the Steelers’ game plays in front of him
He does not notice me watching
as he drizzles hot sauce on his meal.
 
He turns, sensing me behind him,
tells me to grab a plate.
I do, knowing this is an important offering.
 
He fixes me dinner,
too many smelts than I can stomach,
salad, and bread.
I begin to eat silently next to him
 
This is his language of love.
 
He gets up suddenly
grabs a glass from the cupboard
pours half of his beer in the glass.
He hands it to me.
 
I drink. I take him in.
I say nothing. Because I know
he needs this. He needs me
to be silent with him, to eat
the food he has made
to accept what love
he has left to give.
 
To do something
anything.