Yet The Sun Doesn’t Have The Courage To Die by John Grochalski

102 years old, she says to no one

my aunt, she says
she shakes the big picture she’s holding

only this isn’t her
this is my great-grandmother

she shows the whole bus her picture

my aunt died, she said
so i get this picture of great-grandma

wasn’t she beautiful?
didn’t we look alike?

a group of mexican day laborers
shake their heads in unison

muy hermosa, one shouts
before he goes back to sleeping in drywall dust

i’m sorry if i’m bothering you
she says, but i don’t know to who

but i’m very depressed
it’s hard going through somebody’s things

even if they died at 102 years old
even if you get to have this wonderful picture

she shows great-grandma around the bus again

and i got a jacket, she says
i got an old fur coat
i have it right in this bag here

but i’m very depressed, she says

it’s very depressing when someone dies
even though she had the courage to live 102 years

not many people can do that
how many people on this bus will see 102?

she looks around at the screaming kids
at the day laborers and tired mothers

at the girls singing along to songs
coming loudly off their cell phones

at the people trying to make it home from work
at a still reasonable hour

people who already look dead

didn’t we look alike? she says to me
she shows me the picture of her great-grandmother

of course she never saw 102, she says
not like my aunt

imagine that, she says to me
as i nod and turn away from the photo
to watch the sun as it starts to sink
behind one of the dull gray buildings lining the avenue

housing people who must
endure the rudiments of the day
for reasons they no longer understand

maybe for the few small moments of bliss
that come their way and make up a life

imagine 102 years and what that must feel like
all those years, she says to no one again

oh, it’s very depressing to talk about
oh, but this life, she says

it’s also such a miracle, right?


John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.

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