Audio Poem from “This is What is Invisible”, #5 of 12

As a reminder, I’m posting an audio version of each of the 12 poems in my new collection This is What is Invisible.  This is the fifth posting, and it’s the collection’s titular poem, “This is What is Invisible”:


This is What is Invisible
In the upper small bedroom
I’d watch cartoons while she fiddled around
downstairs, doing grandma-type things,
while I waited to walk to school,
waited for Mom or Dad to get home,
or waited for things now lost to time;
she’d bring me food which I no longer
remember, and cool red drinks
with sugar in them, and when I explored
her house I found amazing things
which clearly showed the difference
between a grandma and a little boy:
swatches of fabric, long-stemmed sturdy matches,
sepia photos of men in tall hats,
endless paintings of a bearded man, praying.

Grandma’s stuff took up a lot of space,
for there must have been a lot that Grandma loved,
and in each room of her small house
her biography could have been written
from tiny items and trinkets in shoeboxes
and larger, unknown things propped in closets.
As Grandpa sat shaking in his wheelchair,
Grandma’s long life followed her around
the dark living room as she gave him pills
and water through a huge straw.
There was a lot that Grandma loved
(this is what is invisible).
I never knew her like I should have.

Today I helped carry her the last few feet
her body will ever move; she wasn’t heavy,
as I imagine that her and the things she loved
must have truly been carried elsewhere,
like the pastor said.
I rubbed my own mother’s back and timed
my breath to hers, hoping to calm her
if she needed calming, hoping to know her
like I should.




5 Responses to “Audio Poem from “This is What is Invisible”, #5 of 12”

  1. Well read, sir.


    Hehe, I wonder if anyone but you and I will get this reference…

    This is tragically beautiful Seth. Kudos.

    • sethdellinger Says:

      haha I’m sure nobody else will get it, although I, too, have thought about the Orson Scott Card short story “Breathing Lessons” when I read the end of this one.

      And thanks!

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