Four Years


Closer Than They Appear, Amanda Lumpkins, ’22

Your name rings in my ear like the eerie ringing of the phone 

in the silent house that morning you passed.

When I think of you.

 I hear the ice bumping against your glass cup as you walk to the kitchen.

I see you taking my brother and me to Red Rock to see the mountains.

I see you taking my brother and me to museums, aquariums and animal sanctuaries.

You weren’t a man of many words, but when you did speak you spoke wisdom.

When I think of you.

I feel the warmth of every home cooked meal that filled my belly.

I feel the velvet from the seats in your old silver ford crown victoria.

I feel the Al Green CD case that sat behind the passenger seat.

 When I think of you. 

I can hear the NFL theme song.

I can hear all the old songs from your time playing on the radio as you picked me up from school.

I have a whole playlist dedicated to you five hours worth of every song I’ve ever heard you play.

I know I’m missing a couple but I know you’d be impressed with what I have so far.

When I think of you.

I can almost smell the sweet potato pies baking.

I can smell the open pit barbecue sauce that you would add your secret ingredients to for your cookout famous ribs.

And at your repast it felt almost disrespectful that someone would even bring a sweet potato pie.. I dont think I’m the only one who thought so because when it was over the pies were untouched.

Since you’ve been gone. 

we moved, we couldn’t stand living in that house after you left us.

SInce you’ve been gone.

Granny still hasn’t slept on your side of the bed, 

she keeps the pillow with your picture placed nicely there.

Since you’ve been gone.

Mama’s smile is bright but not as luminous as  when y’all drank and laughed together.

Since you’ve been gone.

I can tell my brother tries to live up to the compassionate and respectable man you were.

Since you’ve been gone.

Holidays don’t feel worth celebrating.

It’s been four years 

And the rest of the family still gives us our space.

It’s been four years.

And my sunny days still don’t shine as bright.

It’s been four years. 

And I can still hear your three volley salute echoing off the trees at your veteran burial .

It’s been four years.

And I still think about you everyday.