Time stood still at grandpa’s house.
That’s why he had all the clocks—
chiming and clicking to remind us time was, in fact, passing.
But after a while, you didn’t notice them,
just like you don’t notice you own breath,
until they finally fall silent.
Then, again, there is no time,
just a vast expanse, as wide as the Kansas prairie at sunset,
with the oranges and browns and yellows merging
at a horizon you will never reach.
I wonder if everyone sees their grandparents’ houses
As places where every object–
every picture on the wall that’s hung for your entire life, and longer–
is infused with electric magic
that pulls at you from across the long hours
that hang in the back seat of a car,
like apples on a tree,
waiting to fall?
The bottle cap frozen into the sidewalk,
The front porch catty corner from the farm implement place,
The train creaking and wailing past the grain elevator,
The big tree at the hospital, lit for Christmas,
The books in the back room, the fish in the tank,
The old woodworking magazines and Popular Mechanics, stacked
in a corner of the bathroom–
Everything sits and waits, gathering dust and magic.
You need patience to get to such a place,
And patience is all they seem to have there—
the patience of a slow-melting snow,
the patience of watching a crop grow, and thrive, and fade,
the patience of waiting for us to come again.