Sometimes I smell mildew and pine, and I know it is my grandmother, I am again awakened by lace curtains touching my face, breeze blown through a screen, through a screen where I see a dirt path go into the woods, a gravel drive and her wooden garage where her Chevy waits. When she pulls the doors open: the smells of oil, gasoline, sawdust and age; I can jump in and sit beside her, just she and I while the others sleep, down Wooded Hill and across the Four Corners, past Saint Andrews and its fine steeple, the red brick schoolhouse across from the high school toward the North River Bridge through Norwell to the rotary, where the sky opens up to the sea and gulls call above a row of shops and cafes and bookstores to the point where the lighthouse stands, has stood at the Atlantic shore through fog and storms and ages of lovers, sun burnt families who take over the cabins each year. We pull up where we always pull up and sit on the bench we always sit, out of her purse she hands me a wrapped-in-waxed-paper piece of salt water taffy we suck on and chew and chew on our thoughts until we search for a lucky stone, granite wrapped by a white line, on the rocky beach, storm-tossed smooth. I kept one she found in my pocket, always have, to touch, to feel, to remember who I am and where I come from.
Richard Stuecker is a poet and writer who graduated from Duke University in 1970. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is a student at the Bluegrass Writer’s Studio MFA program at Eastern Kentucky University. His poems have appeared in or been accepted by Tipton Poetry Review, Tilde, Former People, Pegasus, Main Street Rag, Poetica Review, Rubbertop Review, Otherwise Engaged, Birmingham Arts and District Lit. Kelsay Books will publish his first chapbook in December.