“Run-on” by Troy Walters / “Forgotten” by Elena Hymes


Elena Hymes


Troy Walters

That cold fall air, nipping at my skin, took me back to days of pumpkin pie steaming on the windowsill. I remember you’d take me out here and we’d just talk and talk, the smoke from your cigars covering your face in a fog of misplaced memory and shooing away the gnats that loved to swarm the porch light. You would tell me the stories of sitting out here with Mom and stories of her stories of her life before I took it away from her the day I was born. You’d always let me sit in moms old rocking chair. I always thought I was taking your comfy chair from you, until that night I stayed up too late and saw you out there, alone, smoke covering your face, wistfully staring at moms chair, hoping she might take a seat and talk to you one last time.
I couldn’t comprehend how you were feeling back then. But now, as I sit, alone, in this rocking chair that creaks every time I move, I can’t help but stare at the empty wooden chair that used to hold my father, so grand, taller than the clouds of smoke that cover the wrinkles I can’t seem to remember the shape of, and I remember the incredible man who taught me everything I know and now rots, rots in that backyard where we would play, rots under the sun we would pitch tents to hide from, rots under that grave marker that i crafted with my own bare hands, rots in my head as the memory of your booming voice fades into nothing.
So I smoke, now, dad, to shoo away the gnats and blanket my eyes so I don’t have to look at the chair that holds you no longer.