Crows spread their rumors overhead, some of them believed by jays who take up the cry.
I wear a careless Saturday hairdo and a half-buttoned coat.
I walk in step to a soundtrack of my own composing, in slow 4/4 time.
This day is no more meaningful than the pillow I left behind on the bed with the imprint of my cheek or a candle on a birthday cake which has a minute of usefulness and is discarded.
Time runs together into more time, which is then forgotten.
I'm neither old nor young on this ruddy day that smells like autumn and is wrapped in light and the gossiping calls of crows.
He is the shell of my grandfather, his strong facial bones well past collapse. His ropey eyebrows are circumflexes atop the confused Os of his eyes.
I roll him to the park, making sure that lap blankets stay tucked around him, but he fidgets them off.
The scents of wet leaves and woodsmoke have touched off olfactory synapses, our stongest links to childhood memories, and his face spreads wide in a smile of pleasure at the sight of a black Lab leaping for a frisbee.
One withered arm rises slowly in the dog's direction and he calls, "Catch it boy! Good boy! Good Sparky."
We sit together on a green park bench, dreamers both: my grandfather chases a long-ago dog through autumn's flaming maple forests of Quebec, and I chase a not-yet-written short story to its conclusion.
He takes my hand and begins to tell me scandalous anecdotes about the neighbors, farmhands, cheats and priests he knew 88 years before.
Overhead, the sun races with the clouds towards the horizon.
We are rooted in this spot, delighted by my grandfather's long-ago gossip, both the telling of it and the listening.
For one golden afternoon, we are both children again.