Trying to recall, I started counting when you said it,
how many times you’d told me that before.
“You should never do that, for heaven’s sake,” you’d say.
“It’s a game when you’re a child, young and flexible,
but you know you’re not a child anymore”; I know.
“Don’t do it,” you told me last winter, I remember,
that time when I wore those new Sunday shoes,
the ones with the extra arch support, my arches
sagging so badly now, but those slick leather soles,
I couldn’t help myself, and you caught me.
I remember the day at Wendy’s winter wedding brunch,
you wondering why she’d choose marriage in January,
when everyone else in your family chose June.
“Your granddaughter,” I said, “might wish to break with tradition.”
That scowl sent me out to icy sidewalks, and you caught me.
I guess there were more, but my brain’s getting old.
Only those two alone I could specifically hark back to.
I said timidly, looking up at you from my hospital bed,
“You perhaps think you’ve told me that a thousand times before,
but I recall only twice, Dear, not enough to stop me from sliding on ice.”