Maraschino Cherries

There was a time after my grandpa passed away, that I lived in his house. It is one of the strangest times in my life because it was almost a year, and I remember almost nothing of it. I was working a ton of hours at a county mental health center. I remember odd things like shoveling the driveway that long winter, barely leaving the house in the summer, people stopping by and trying to get me out of the house. I changed absolutely nothing except the sheets and the bedspread. I remember I got on a kick of drinking “Shirley Temples,’ or “Kiddie Cocktails.’ I never have had this kick again. A part of me feels like it was my way of doing something I did when my grandparents lived there. Who knows? Maybe they just tasted good. The poem below is simple, yet I read it and it speaks volumes about that time. I felt like I had really just evaporated into nothing but loss. There was loss of physical individuals, loss of what I could do physicallhy due to an injury of my leg, but mostly there was loss of dreams and hopes I had for myself. I almost had to take that year to allow dreams I had from being young on to be accepted as something that maybe I was not meant to be given in this life. I think during that year, I grieved the fact I would probably never be a father or a husband again. I grieved the fact that if I wasn’t going to be those things, “Who was I going to be?” I was no longer a runner. I was no longer so many things that were self-defining to me. I felt almost as dead inside as the people I lost were. I did a lot of bargaining in that house. When I read this little poem below, that’s what I hear and feel.

Maraschino Cherries

Poetry and Mariachino cherries,
Is this is what life has come down to?
Stopping in the supermarket after work
To buy Maraschino cherries .

The store clerk asks me if they’re for my children.
I smile and say, “Yes, they love Shirley Temples.”
Feeling strange for wanting something so childlike
And secretly aching for a child to make them for.

I throw my keys on the table,
Barely stumble to the bathroom,
Take off my pants and put on my flannel,
Crawling into bed with Maraschino Cherries.

Which is better than pills, I guess.
Which is healthier than alcohol.
Which is better than the nothing I used to eat
When I starved myself for years.

Besides….
People ask me all the time.
How I spend my nights?
I don’t tell them alone, in bed, with poems
and Maraschino Cherries.

Do I wish it was love?
Do I wish there was a child to make Shirley Temple for?
Do I wish I could sleep more
And hurt a let less?

Hell yes!
But for now it’s poems and Maraschino Cherries.
Next week it might be something else,
But for now,
This is my life..
Sweet cherries and tart poems.

Hopefully one day it will be tart cherries
And sweet poems. Well,
One can hope….

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