Sopping up mussels on a friendly impulse,
we’re swapping nicknames and old ties
on a raw night and keeping ourselves warm
— and I remember his voice — hi, dahlin, warm,
half laughing while I felt for my own pulse
with his stethoscope … felt his wool coat and tie
and the webbed truck seat and the twist tie
on wintergreen mints — all alive with the warm
smell of pipe tobacco and the engine’s pulse
— my grandfather, a tidal pulse — still — warm
Prompts: From the 30/30 challenge I’m taking “truck,” and from NaPoWriMo the form of a tritina. I’ve got to tell you folks, I’ve written sestinas before, and I’d say they’re much easier, tough they take time. A form this short with so many repeated words … it’s hard to condense enough.
This photograph is my grandfather, my mother’s father, Carter Stilson. My mother, Deborah Abbott, took it long aog on the Maine coast. And I miss him.