Dedicated to Daddy. Published in "Best Poems and Poets of 2002" by Poetry.com.
The Grandfather You'll Never Know
I remember how I cried
The day my father died.
The doctor laid the blame
When he said that cancer came:
Lymph nodes, lungs,
Some philosophy of Carl Jung,
Words of explanation
For everything. No blame.
The service was long,
And I tried to be strong.
The stench of red carnations
Still gags my sensations.
People’s faces among,
Words of the Lord’s graces
Now planted into a lawn,
For the shell of this world has gone,
Yoked into heavenly bliss.
When I think of him
There's so much we missed.
I remember how I’ve sighed,
Thinking of my dad with pride.
I’d sit on his knee
My ear to his chest, listening to him hum,
And he’d give me his pennies for free.
He would mow, I’d sweep,
And then we’d have a snow cone treat.
Poles, bait bucket, tackle box,
Days we spent fishing from piers and docks.
Hair black like Elvis’,
Ears and features like Clark Gable’s,
Loud and important dinner tones,
But also laughter animated
From his oil company job,
At the dinner table every night at 5:00 pm.
Arriving driveway 4:45 pm, via '63 Dodge.
In through the kitchen door
With a smile and peck for Mama, maybe more
With me playing behind some other-room door
Until the dinner bell rang.
The father fedora, big pleated, belted trousers,
A pocket watch hanging from a chain,
And change that jingled in his pocket.
I can still hear it.
When I close my eyes
I can see him dimly, again.
I look in the mirror and see his eyes,
Staring back at me in an eternal guise.
He didn’t live on to see me grown,
Or help me with the problems I’ve known.
But his gifts of life,
And his gifts of love,
Are still here on earth in me,
Angelically guarding, and guiding,
Forever through Our spiritual journey.