November 25, 2007
By Madelon Case, Beaverton, OR

We make the same trip to our grandparents
Twice a year.
The Rochester airport is always empty,
The sidewalk outside covered in grimy slush
Or cloaked in humid, oppressive air.
Dad always mutters, “I hate rental cars,”
Just as we pass the Winton Road exit
On the New York turnpike.

We arrive at the retirement home.
Lug our bags upstairs to the apartment.
Tread, as we enter, on an intricate rug
That once lined their upstairs hallway.
Open our arms to comfortable hugs.
Deliver the hazelnuts we always bring.

And I can’t help but notice
That Grandpa’s hair has all fallen out now,
That Grandma’s hand shakes lifting her spoon,
While we sit on the familiar red couch
Listening to stories we hear every year.

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