Saturday, October 28, 2006

Grandfather Tom
For Tom Farragher

I stumble through the twigs
to reach your grave
I need some talk,
some bits of string,
some knots untied

I remember our home—
the dog I rode when three,
the daffodils, crocus,
forsythia, mock-orange—

blue bachelor's-buttons
strung through your lapel

Each June I see again
the red porch
with the paint and oil smell
I think of lemons

I loved your green swinging couch

As I sit among the graves
the rains begin
then I was eight
standing by the Chesterfields
near your favorite chair

Often I would watch you
walk down our hill
newspaper under arm,
and then,
the snow began
and we sled and sled
until wet to our drawers

we fell home
and you made some tea
smoked a cigarette,
and then
we wrestled

and you read to me of Mars
or Saturn's men
until I yawned asleep—
your white hair
blurred by the motions
of your fingers tucking
me under Grandma's quilt

As I leave your grave
the rain stops,
and we walk up that hill
on your last day.
Then the bus came,
took you away,
and you waved smiles through the glass,
and the roar of the bus stopped,
and we could not touch

I am never able to walk down that hill
and not see you with your newspaper
under your arm—
and the silence each Christmas
is sad even when the family gathers
with new children

no one is there to play card for pennies,
and no one has your vision; and for a time
even I didn't want to remember that there
were no strong hands to help steer my wagon

through the distance
and its chill.

3 comments:

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan said...

How beautiful and sad. Thank you for bringing this into the world.

Susan said...

I saw you on the zoe discussion board today ;) and followed the path.