do-it-yourself ice rinks are not what they were. the beauties in today's times magazine looked like professional jobs, but for their edges of yards and homes. my grandfather was in the mood to tell stories last week - in 1950, a rink involved scalding bathtubs to thaw the garden hose, sharing "about a quart of whiskey" with each of the neighbors, and a grainy news photo of grandma making wobbly figure eights. i was going to ask about the photo, but the story exhausted him: he climbed into his motorized chair and waved, spiraling up the staircase into the ceiling. those chairs were a commercial staple between game shows in britain - nearly as funny as the old "i've fallen and i can't get up" spots. har har. his pacemaker is due to run out in the next thirty days and he refuses a replacement; i might never see him again.

one of my accepted pieces is a series about grandpa - an ambivalent, angry sketch about falling apart, or falling apart watching him. when i'm feeling snooty, i think that balling seven fragments together was an accurate snapshot of the process. when i get around to guilt, i think of how he's always been proud of me, of how hard it would be to explain that the poem's messiness is supposed to indicate that i love him.

it won't appear for a year.

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