Categories
Art Poetry

Grandma’s Journal

“she skipped a few years
then another entry”

By Brian Rihlmann

I found this journal
among her things
she’d filled the first five pages
with sloppy cursive
arthritic hands

I read slowly
to make out the words
slowly as she walked
during her last days

she misses him
she should’ve known
should’ve taken him
to the heart doctor sooner

he was her second husband
and her last
and even after 25 years
she wonders if he loved her
she hopes he did
at least a little

she skipped a few years
then another entry
still harder to read

she worries
that my mom
will never return
from her trip to China
and about her son
the atheist
will she see him
in heaven?

more years pass
before the last entry
a child’s writing
she’s 85
can hardly see or walk

if any of us finds this
she wants us to know
God is real
“please believe me”

I’m at the park reading this
I look up
as an old woman with a walker
shuffles along the path

she glances at me
looks away
before I’ve got a chance
to wave hello

I wanted her to see me wave
to see that I noticed her
I wanted to smile at her
I wanted her to smile back at me


Brian Rihlmann was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Reno, Nevada. He writes free verse poetry, much of it on the confessional side. He has been published in Blognostics, Red Eft Review, Synchronized Chaos, Cajun Mutt Press, The Rye Whiskey Review and others.

Image: “Internal Floral Scream,” digital photography, 2019, Jury S. Judge

Jury S. Judge is an internationally published artist, writer, poet, photographer, and political cartoonist. Her Astronomy Comedy cartoons are also published in The Lowell Observer. Her artwork has been featured in literary magazines such as Dodging The Rain, The New Plains Review, The Ignatian Literary Magazine and Fearsome Critters. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA from the University of Houston-Clear Lake in 2014.