Green Bananas



Your stories became mine.

I held them close

Like you held me when I jumped in your chair.

We flipped the handle of your recliner,

Sent our feet into outer space.


The story only just begun.


Fingers wiggle my piggy toes,

Each one has a name.

Tickle adventure, cows eat corn,

Around my ribs, in circles run.


Run is what you said you did while in Vietnam.

One lung, one story never told.

Agent orange, War, Loud bombs.


Loud was something you couldn’t avoid.

Christmas was louder than war.

You’d turn down your hearing aids,

Smile at us softly and sit silent on the outskirts of joy.


Stalwart, stoic, stable man

In a family full of noise.

Some stories I will never grasp

Patriarchal poise.


Papaw what’d the doctor say?

He’d joke and say with a grin,

“Said don’t buy green bananas!”

But I didn’t understand.


Bunch after bunch, he bought them though—

defying sickness, feeling low.

But now released & flying free

Away from earthly woe.

Now I understand.


Swing low sweet chariot of the night.

Story at its close

Memories’ arms now hold me tight.

I guess that’s how it goes.


Your stories became mine.

I held them close,

But you’re no longer in your chair.


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