Here With Me


I remember my grandfather’s decline,
His slow but steady decline,
This honorable, moral man,
A role model,
Still.

During my younger years he often called me,
As if trying to rebalance our relationship,
Having favored my older sister,
My more compliant,
Less troubled sister.

When my grandmother died,
On our way to the cemetery
He told me they both agreed she should go first,
A pact without the power of choice,
Silently resolved to meet again somehow.

Episodes of confusion crept into his daily life.
His daughter hired a caregiver
To do the things that became too hard,
This once rigorous man losing his rigor,
His self-reliance.

An assortment of medications
Causing angry outbursts of unmoored emotions,
Personality changes.
Demons gaining ground
On the weary angels of his being.

And here I sit with my morning coffee
Wearing my grandfather’s robe,
Wondering how many days I have left.
I hear the tik-toking of his Regulator clock
Counting down.

Grandfather is here with me this morning,
Telling me about his boyhood on the farm,
The lamb he brought into his bedroom
To shield it from the storm.

Soon, he finally answers. Soon.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved

Waking Up In The Dark


I could never get used to waking up in the dark,
To the cold, pitch-filled sky
Pressed flat against my windows,
To the wetness of water
Shot in hard, straight lines from the shower head,
To the distress of the world,
Just outside my door.

It was no easier for my two boys
Sagging under the weight of sleep,
Unable to speak,
Or my wife
Who would smile
And speak in gentle tones
Despite years of servitude to us all.

Together,
The chaotic particles of ourselves joined,
Forming a radiant wholeness of being.
Together,
We summoned the will
To face the new day
With something like hope.

After all these years I still wake up in the dark,
Remembering the sounds,
The stirrings,
Listening for the click of a light switch.
But now the other half of my bed is empty
And my boys are gone,
Changed into men,
Swallowed up by the world,
Just outside my door.

I have nowhere to go and could sleep until noon,
But each morning I wake up in the dark
And listen for them, still.


~ Russ Allison Loar
© All Rights Reserved