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Gutting the Farmhouse Upon Grandfather’s Death from Alzheimer’s

My heart leapt when I thought
of all I could destroy.

I tore the cherry banisters
from the foyer’s broad staircase

and piled the splintered dowels by the door.
Dad ripped piping from beneath the sink.

The hollow copper rasped and clanged
as he dropped each length of pipe at his feet.

He raised an axe, cleaved
each cabinet door from its hinges,

and hurled the ruined wood through
the window frame he’d emptied with a sledge.

I swung my old claw hammer
and pierced the drywall.

Jaw clenched, I hammered
until my arms were rubber,

then followed the floor’s vibrations to the pantry
to watch Dad hoist his sledge and laugh,

smashing the shelves to splinters,
his eyes full of sweat and rapture.
Posted 12/22/12
"Gutting the Farmhouse Upon Grandfather's Death from Alzheimer's" was first published in Country Dog Review, vol. 7.
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