. . . in the mirror I see my grandfather
with his gray hair, baggy eyes, old shoes
but I’m not ready to be him yet . . .
I wonder what
my grandfather did every day
in his little room
off the living room at the front of the house.
I know he’d sit in his rocker
read newspapers both The Daily
Home News and the New York Post
but you can’t read newspapers all day long
so what else did he do?
There was nothing else in there
that I could see
no books or hobbies or TV
not even a deck of cards.
Sometimes I’d glance in
and he’d be sitting in his rocker
staring out the window into the street
at nothing in particular.
. . . I wanted to be like Dante
putting everyone where they belonged
above, below or in between . . .
I recall the first time I read
Dante’s Divine Comedy
all the way through
as a medical sales rep
carrying it with me faithfully
as I trudged through airport lounges and hotel rooms
diners, doctors waiting rooms, company lobbies . . .
Not because I was trying to show off
traipsing around with such an important
work of literature
but instead because reading it lifted me up and out
of my humdrum existence
into a world I scarcely could’ve imagined
with demons and torture, angels and sunlight
and everything in between.
Expecting that merely reading of every word
would save my soul somehow.
Michael Estabrook Michael Estabrook has been publishing his poetry in the small press since the 1980s. He has more than twenty collections, most recently The Poet’s Curse, A Miscellany (The Poetry Box 2019).