Geraniums knew my grandfather
by heart. These red ones tell
the gifts of his attention:
the way he colored the dull
Midwestern summers of my childhood
the way he let me pinch off pansies
so buds could unfurl their faces
the way he thumped watermelons
to find one pungent and crisp
the way his lips struggled against a smile
whenever he held the Old Maid
the way he lingered by our piano,
fingers laced against his vest,
and let my halting Strauss
waltz him home.

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