Grandpa (2)… or (1), I guess

He would sit in his chair,
a battered old recliner,
and prop his feet up
not one over the other, but
side by side
(they were wingtips,
nicely polished).

I’d sit in the corner
as the grownups talked
politics and gossip,
And me in the corner
reading comix.

I didn’t ask my mother
why his anger sat so deep.
She told me willingly,
She told me
his childhood:
-how as a little boy
my great(?)grandmother told him
she’d have preferred
Or, perhaps,
-how as a teen, even,
he’d made a rough time of it.
No ego, no esteem;
warring with others,
quitting jobs.
-how the USMC
had saved him,
but only for the Vietnam
atrocities, and (later)
-how he’d lost his family
to the bottle
and ¾ of his heart
to the cigs.

It was years later when
she told me (through cupped hands, whispering)
he thought salvation
a work.
A work for which
he was not cut out.
He thought God a closed-hand man,
fists full of gifts you have to earn.
He thought “God damn”
could ruin the grace.

I understand you better
now you’re gone.
I bit your nose
when I was teething, remember?
at the elephant-circus
where trapeze artists
flew through the air.
I realize now you felt
you had no net.

The smell of your
kitchen still
lingers in my
I eat the fruit
of your table.


3 thoughts on “Grandpa (2)… or (1), I guess

  1. daniel says:

    Well i mean it’s still great, and the same sort of point comes across.

    but yeah, i think i enjoy the first one more.

  2. It was weird, because I wrote this one in the margins of one of my notebooks and forgot about it. Then I wrote the other poem, and subsequently found this one again… so I think it sort of helped me crystallize exactly what I wanted to say.

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