The Black & White Poet

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Grandma Lang

I was in the seventh grade when I made the basketball team
Some of the private schools in the area decided
they'd let their small academy join this athletic society
and we'd compete against the Catholic girls
And so, when they found out I was good,
They gave me the number 23 (like Jordan)

That following year, (in the eighth grade)
It was basketball season again,
And Grandma Lang was in the hospital
My mother, number nine out of ten children (all of the same two biological parents),
Had carried the heaviest burden during this time
Taking care of Grandma and making her happy
Taking care of me and my sister… and everything else

At one point, in February, after she was visiting Grandma,
Mom gave me a piece of cardboard
it was torn off a small Frosted Flakes cereal box-
(must have been from the hospital cafeteria)
And on the back Grandma scribbled a note to me
Talking about how she loved me and how she'll give me a quarter
for every basket I make this season

A practice or two, and maybe a game had passed when
Valentine's Day arrived
and they called and
said Grandma Lang just passed
I had a big game just a day or so later and
Uncle Ed was in town for the funeral so he helped referee when
our main ref didn't show
That night I made several baskets, but our team didn't win
I forgot about the promised quarters
I just kept remembering that
They said Grandma Lang was really gone

-DL 2010

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Grandma Lang