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Poetry by Steve De France 

Among other credentials, Steve is a recent Best of the Web nominee, poet, playwright, and essayist.  He lives in Long Beach, CA.





© 2007 Steve De France






The last night I saw him alive, he had
coffee grounds spread across his bald
head. He was sitting at the wooden
kitchen table. It had a lot of cigarette
burns in it. Mainly because my grandma
would balance burning cigarettes on the
edge of the table as she was cooking.
Anyway, as he was sitting there alone,
there was something very formal in the
straightness of his back, also in the
care with which he brushed the grounds
off his person onto the brightly colored
yellow linoleum floor.
"What happened?" I asked.
He gestured with his thumb toward
grandma's room. He didn't say anything.
He didn't need to. He sat there looking
at me, knocking grounds off his shirt.
We could hear the clock ticking in the
front room. I knew grandma had
smacked him in the head with a pot full
of hot coffee. He made a wry face,
smiled at me, and then like he was
getting even with grandma, he crushed
the grounds under the heel of his shoe.
We both laughed. Soon he got up, put his
jacket on, and then, slammed the back
door on his way out.
Later that night, two policemen pounded
on our front door until my mother opened
up. I remember waking to strange voices.
The door banging closed. My mother
crying. And then, a shriek from my
grandmother. Now we were all up.
Everybody grabbing onto everybody.
Crying. Nobody knowing what to do.
I wasn't sure why I was crying. But I
new something awful had happened.
We didn't own a car or a phone.
Together we went to the phone-booth in
front of Lucky Market & called the
hospital. He'd been hit crossing the street.
He died on the way to the hospital.
We walked back across the street.
We sat up in the kitchen & cried until daylight.
And only later that morning did my grandmother
clean the coffee grounds from the floor.















All work is copyrighted property of Steve De France.




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