Keeping up with slowing down…

Grandpa always yelled
the same thing,
no matter what:
“Slow down!”
was his universal
call of caution,
for running or walking,
talking or eating,
skating or riding,
corners worried him
as did sidewalks,
aisles and open fields,
and I never asked why,
or even how
to “Slow down!”
as if it was possible;

I never heeded
his clarion call
because it was all
too exciting to wait,
too close not to reach for,
too far not to run to;
he was dragged along
as I tugged his hand,
calling my own “C’mon!”
to him over a shoulder,
urging him on,
to not hold us back,
and I always thought
I was living dangerously,
going much too fast
for my own good;

but maybe he was
just trying to keep up,
and his ‘Slow down!’
was a plea
so we could see it
together
or, at least, a prayer
to see it, do it, be there
at all
because his time
was running out
and he was just
trying to see what
was so exciting
it couldn’t wait,
and he needed my legs
to get to wherever
it was life was going.

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