Surprise Greeting from Google Maps

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A few weekends ago, my dad and I were at a truck rental agency in Cincinnati, OH. We were headed to the house my grandparents bought 57 years ago. With my Grandpa having passed away a couple years ago and my Grandma in a nursing home, the house is now for sale and we needed to get our things. My dad asked me to bring up the directions on my phone.

Knowing the address by heart (I can recall addresses and phone numbers from my childhood better than those of today), I typed it into Google Maps. The map appeared, along with a small photo of the house at the bottom left of the screen. The Street View provided a nostalgic glance at the house I knew in my heart I might be going to for one of the last times— if not the last time. I clicked on the screen with my thumb and enlarged the image.

There he was, my Grandpa Ed, sitting on the porch with his legs crossed, in one of the two Cracker Barrel rocking chairs my parents gave him and my Grandma for Christmas many years ago! I couldn’t believe my eyes. How in the world had the Google Maps Street View driver managed to capture him at this exact moment? Then, I realized Grandpa was probably in this same position every day and I was just lucky an update of Burch Avenue had not already occurred.

Modern technology can be so strange, at times. But, there are definitely moments when you can’t help but just be thankful for the ways it provides moments of awe and gratitude and maybe even an unexpected hello from a deceased relative. For me, this was one of those moments.



Lake Freezing


Lake Freezing

Earlier, I traveled to Lake Freezing
And dared to stick in my hand
I have heard tales since I was young
Of what the waters there will do to a man:
From the tips of one’s fingers,
The paralysis begins,
Immobilizing the arm up to the shoulder blade
Within seconds, or so they say

I knelt down and took a hard look
At the soft ripples along the surface
Observing fallen leaves and my reflection,
I began to search for the waving of a fish
There was not one, from what I could see
In fact, the only creature I could find
Earlier, in the water of the lake
Was the explorer staring back at me

I extended my arm and felt
The air against my skin
The wintry temperature raised my hairs,
My fingers pointed downward
As my wrist fell fully limp
From my waist, I nudged my arm forward and
Down my hand began to sink
An icy dampness shook my hand
We held there barely long enough to blink

Like a net full of crabs, I hastily withdrew
My hand from the lake
I placed my wet hand in my dry hand
Began investigating whether or not it was awake
Into my palm, my fingers clenched and unclenched;
I could not believe my eyes:
The hand I held was still alive
I raised my fist up to the sky



Joy Graveyard

Joy Graveyard

Welcome to Joy Graveyard
Please remove your shoes,
Leave your bag with the guard

Smiling, laughing, or looking happy
Will be punished with utter mortification;
The parts of you unwithered
Will face pure mutilation

  • No candy
  • No colors
  • No friends
  • No anything you really want, really

No use in sniveling, ’twill only
Make it worse!
By the way,
The guard stole the funds
From inside your purse

Better start unpacking
We have stamped your timecard
Make no attempt to break free
From the confines of
Joy Graveyard