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Last updateTue, 06 Aug 2013 2am

Monday, 19 December 2011 19:51

Silent Night

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Was Masterful and Wylie Sled Dog, Antler Happen and Blitzen to avoid the sack, Cookies on the table, the Milk Glass, hob nob and Pall Mall Golds the pail runneth over, The Chim-Chiminny, Chim Chim and Speed, swept that Sucker clean for passage through the open flue Season into the afterlife~

I saw money in the second clause of unsigned petitioner request for personal belongings, release form~

No one knows how long he was there. The last time I had seen him, five months earlier, July, he yelled at us a bit, we weren’t listening, about all the silver coins in the Tupperware Pitcher stashed in the right hand corner, back of the bottom of the closet.

“Now listen, I doan know whats here, but we counted five hundred and seventy five dollars in coin but it’s real silver, so I doan know whats here. Y’all do whatchoo want with it, but doan forget it’s here.”


My grandmother's music box, a gift from me, sitting on the bureau, one of my earrings inside. I hadn’t been there in fourteen years. She had died in March. I had been too ill to travel, the Ides of March were particularly cruel that year. We didn’t know she was going to go, in that one moment when we were all busy with something else. He was telling us about the silver and we weren’t listening. He was telling us what to do, for later. No one knows how long he was there.

The last time I saw him, he had no teeth, had pulled them out himself, said the dentist wanted too much money and too much more than that for new dentures. He was wearing her old shoes, scuffling, because there was nothing wrong with them. He told us about the last time the girl had come out to set my grandmothers hair, how it had turned white as snow and it was “so purdy” and he had kept a lock of it, as if he had known. I try to find the words that say what they meant to me but I don’t know where or what those words are or what language they are in, I cannot find those words. I have determined…those words do not exist and the sounds that would make them stick in my chest and in my throat, and those sounds won’t come out, and those sounds do not exist.

Somebody should have been there. Six years later and I think somebody should have been there and I think, I should have been there.

~ They think he got up in the wee hours of morning, let the cat out, some awful scrawny mess of a thing that had adopted the two of them. He let the cat out, went into the kitchen for something. What were his days like, over and over, without her? Without any of us there? He took a shower. They think he might have had a mini stroke, something that had gotten him out of bed, though he had recently complained that he had not been sleeping much, complained of chest pains, was taking coumadin. I had talked to him somewhere around December 2nd, I don’t know why I remember that but I do. We didn’t have much to say but we talked anyway. He didn’t know what to say without her. Neither did I.

His leg was caught, wedged between the nightstand and the bed rail. He had knocked the phone to the floor away from him when he fell. Heart attack, stroke, massive brain hemorrhage. No one knows how long he was there. He hadn’t gotten dressed. A long time family friend and neighbor found him, noticed that he wasn’t letting the cat back in, it hadn‘t been more than a day. Seventy-Seven years old, mumbled his own name to the paramedics, unintelligible and they wrote down what they heard, took my mother most of the next day to locate him in ICU on life support in El Centro.

December 22 she called, my mother did, they were running tests. Next day there was no brain activity. Didn’t hear from her again until the 26th, typical. She said she hadn’t wanted to ruin my Christmas. My grandfather died on Christmas Eve.

Every Christmas until I was nineteen, every Christmas until I left home, if I wanted boots, I got boots, because of them, my grandparents. When I was seventeen they gave me a place to live, a place to smoke cigarettes and write, and they didn’t ask too many questions about why I had quit school, or anything else. Six years later and the words for what they were to me…they never made those words.

My Mom said she got the silver. I know, on Christmas Eve, every Christmas Eve, no matter where I am, where my family is, each of us, we are thinking of him.

Was Masterful and Wylie Sled Dog, the year that Papaw died and played Santa, one last time. There is no going home again for Christmas, they took it with them when they went.

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Kathryn Soverane


Moon, spells WRITER.

Poetry, prose, the macabre of suburbia, noir, dark fiction, stream of consciousness, romance and horror,  good writing is the thing.


Kathryn currently resides in California.

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