When Grandma kept Smirnoff company
in the old farmhouse,
I kept Old Man Spirit company
in the treeless barnyard.

There I would stand,
back against the wind,
allowing the spirit to hold me up,
suspended in the air.

A child could be frightened
by such mysteriousness
and a howling that could be
anger, but

I admired his patience,
his steadfastness in keeping me safe,
never once allowing me
to fall,

For if I had cried out in pain,
Grandma would not have heard.
She found Smirnoff’s company
too intoxicating.