The Specials by Bruce Guernsey

The Specials

At eighty-five my grandfather,
blinking his way from Florida
to New Hampshire that spring, his last,
drove the by-pass around Atlanta
four or five full orbits, or so we figure,
before my grandmother, hungry again,
as fat as he was thin,
awoke beside him where she’d always ride
to ask if they could stop
for breakfast there this morning,
so good were the grits last May,
the coming summer come and gone
in the wink of her nap
and now we’re heading back, she thought,
her sense of time like his of space
as he drifted towards an exit
through horns and middle-digits raised,
somehow finding north,
these two old ducks, though missing
the Stuckey’s of her dreams
but finding, we’re sure, another,
because they always stopped at this—
or was it that one?—for mid-day dinner,
side-by-side in their favorite booth
where for as long as anyone can remember
the same waitress brought
the sirloin special, chopped, for both.

by Bruce Guernsey, from FROM RAIN: Poems, 1970-2010.

Editor’s Note: This poem doesn’t shy away from the stark reality of aging, but the drifting narrative is more welcoming than sad.