Grand, by Patricia Deaton

2010 James Larkin Pearson Contest for Free Verse Second Place

by Patricia Deaton

The call came last night
And then again this morning.

No need to remind me.
I forgot is her excuse, not mine.

She gives me orders. Strict orders

Do not get out of the car.
Do not call attention to yourself by honking

So I park and wait at the middle school,
Baby boomer in a roach-brown KIA
With its pink ribbon decal on the back glass.

I wait and watch, listening to NPR
To learn how many Easter “peeps” you would have to pile up
So you could jump off the Empire State Building and live.

She knows I’ll tap the horn lightly
Because I can’t help myself
And because I’m always trying to ruin “someone’s” life.

She turns away from her flat-ironed friends
And walks to the car, hunched and unfocused
Raccoon eyes on the passenger door, looking without looking,
Like she’s studying one of those 80s pixel puzzles
She’s too young to remember,
The kind that, if you look long enough,
Will suddenly arrange itself into something else.


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