Hearts and Spines.
Sometimes I can't ignore it and my heart shrinks. This isn’t my country. It’s not the same. So many faces from childhood—resting in deserts and fields and under weeping trees. Long gone to that great beyond.
What have I done with the pieces they gave me?
My enemies are legion.
And then I lie next to these children and watch them drift away. My heart grows. My spine stiffens. This blood of mine—My greatest hope. My sacrament.
I used to balance them on just one arm. They were so small. Whistle Marty Robbins. Whisper my heart away. And just pace and pace until I ached—anything for a little rest.
My mind would wander: first day of school, first kiss, tears of defeat and songs of joy—and then their own babies. A chain of memory.
Maybe Grandad felt it too. The weight.
Naked tables. Empty shelves. Everything as dry as a bone. And the blindness. Nothing but black in that unforgiving place. A paltry inheritance.
But surely his heart rose as he caressed their faces and heard the laughter through the dark.
Every man I know has it. The weight. When did you realize things weren't quite what they seemed?
Hearts and spines.
I don't know where this leads, and I reckon it'll get heavier from here. The weight. But Grandad walked a lonely road, and I’ve got this blood of mine—my greatest hope—a chain of memory unbroken.