Green Hills Literary Lantern



The Visits


Dad, even though I know we sprinkled your ashes at Dickens’s house,

in the grape arbor in Amherst, and at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge,


I still think you are in the elevated tunnel at Mass General

where they wheeled you from room to room.


I see you bearded, mustached, absurd among their instruments, draped

in that enormous blue napkin, at fifty-two, white beard jutting out of your cape.


This is where I left you, talking softly and moaning in room 322

while their rubber fingers fiddled with IVs and monitors.


It is absurd! I still think you are in bed waiting

for me to deliver sushi or donuts. This month


you made weekly visits in the form of Berkeley’s half-homeless men

with deep brown eyes and almost-clean clothing.


Last week you were the man from Africa

I offered a walnut chocolate chip cookie.


Yesterday you had a long white beard and long rounded nails and led me

into the health food store to buy you a bar of dark chocolate, seventy percent.


You gave me the wrapper and said,

only $2.99: lifts my spirit, lifts my mood.


I bought him two and gave him one

of my beloved deep-chocolate cream-filled vegan cupcakes


and told him, this too is good for your mood.

He sang “Piano Man” just like Billy Joel


La la la, di da da

La la, di da da da dum


a changeling in tune, you left me blushing again,

and right outside my own Berkeley Bowl.




Rachel Tramonte lives and writes in Berkeley, CA. Her work has appeared in The Cambridge Chronicle, Two Girls Review and GFT.  She also has work forthcoming in Jelly Bucket and Slab.