I remember how early the darkness came.
Long noisy bus rides home from school in winter.
Walking in the front door at four o’clock, sometimes later –
the light outside nearly gone.
Inside, the house was warm
and smelled of the wood stove, occasionally molasses
if grandma had just baked a fresh batch.
Sometimes she’d let me sample one before dinner,
while the cookies were still warm and soft,
the sweet molasses and gooey raisins melting
against the roof of my mouth.
Sometimes I still smell them, taste them,
though it’s been over thirty-five years
since my tongue and those last crumbs parted ways.
I left on an early summer day in 1989,
knowing I wouldn’t be back,
at least not to stay.
Maybe Grandma knew it too. Maybe not.
Either way, she would have given no hint,
made no mention. It wasn’t her way.
She was a creature of the moment,
filling every hour with her palpable presence –
the house, the kitchen, especially that little kitchen,
glowing with a warmth that burns my memory.
Mark Alden is a writer and photographer. He is the author of the blog Haunted Avenues. His work has also appeared in the digital publications Illumination and Illumination Curated. He lives and works in upstate New York.