Poem: Grandpa Tom
Thank you for my grandmothers.
Thank you for my father,
aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Thank you for pretending to lose at Crazy 8s,
and being kind to a little girl who adored you.
I wish I’d known you better as an adult.
When you fell, too many, too many times,
I spoke with you. You said,
“I’m afraid I’m not very lucid right now”
which was a very lucid thing to say, indeed.
I am sorry you saw only shame in our ancestors.
I wish our name was what it should have been.
Did you know they still use “Spaniard” on the census?
Your life was long.
You saw money, war, women, children, and divorce.
I am told you were cruel, but you never were stern with me.
I hope Betty found you,
and that you found her.
Please tell her hello,
and that I love her, too.
If you see my grandmother, you should apologize.
You shouldn’t have gotten upset,
they were just little girls, too;
small red-headed boys do resemble orangutans, a bit.
Your words and whales
clubs and pitchers
tables and cards
sunshine and boats
and sweetest black plums
will always line my heart with love from you.
The dry brown land speaks not your name to me,
but your place, which is peace,