“Scene from a Restaurant Window” by L. Llewellyn Byard

L. Llewellyn Byard


He pried open her hand,
first her thumb—
she trembled as he did so—
then her fingers, one by one,
gently as if their years together
made his task easier,
as if the cane she walked with
supported them both.

Gnarled, stroke-worn hands.

I envied her as I watched—
eating my lunch alone, as he placed
her open hand upon his arm, her purse
over his own stooped shoulders,
as they shuffled slowly
down the street.

from Rattle #9, Summer 1998


L. Llewellyn Byard: “My eight-year-old granddaughter, Ali, called me. ‘I need to know if the Easter Bunny is real,’ she asked. Her father is dying of pancreatic cancer. Lucy said that she reminded her of their cuddle times when they had their eyes closed, and when they had gone skating on a pond of glass-like ice, the times they flew with eagles over treetops glistening with snow, their swims with the sea turtles. Lucy reminded her of the magic of garden divas, of leaving carrots out for reindeer. Ali stopped her. ‘Grammie, my friends at school and I are building a house with mud and dirt and tree sticks for the fairies!’ Her voice rose as she remembered the magic.”

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