Sixteen years in the cracked skin sun
Spewing out curses and pointing a gun
Red dust on her cuffs and flies up her nose
High from the bong made with the garden hose
Sick of heat an’ rust an’ burnt up grass
Good for nothing Father and his lazy ass
Drunken Mother who’s hardly at home
Nagging Nan never leaving her alone
Out there, everybody had a problem
The inability to leave the boredom
The subsequent irritation and regular abuse
Hitting the casino and hitting the booze
The cycle went on like the summer months
Despite her hopes and nightly stunts
Sneaking out to fade like the moon
Only to be caught like a stray and beaten til noon
She sent a reckless bullet to a cawing crow
That took off laughing at her hardened face below
Unsure if she intended it to die
Or just wanted to see it flee to the sky
Dear Grandpa, wherever you are,
I recall sitting on your knee and goggling at your false teeth.
Cackling at the sight of your bare gums you bared sneakily behind disapproving Grandma.
Honking your nose as if you were my very own clown there for my entertainment.
You were a contradiction; you had a dignified countenance but a slapstick alter ego.
In old photos you were the typical English gentleman, clad in a suit, slight smile and lovingly by Grandma’s side. Those photos were black and white, but I can remember your olive skin and subtly vibrant personality.
I choose to remember you like this.
Towards the end, as I sat anxiously across the dining table from you, I might have well as been a stranger for that’s all that I was to you but I know it wasn’t your fault, nor your wish.
It almost made it easier I was six at the time, as I couldn’t imagine going through it now. My age shielded me from too much grief from lack of understanding.
Now it seems almost bizarre you passed away in the living room. I felt confronted with fear for the first time, seeing you still on the rented hospital bed. I was too scared to kiss you goodbye because you weren’t you anymore. You were the first dead person I had seen.
Although it makes me sad I can’t remember your thick accent, at least I have one or two happy memories of you. I would have loved to get to know you, and grow up with you. I know everybody, especially Grandma, misses you very much.
Love your Granddaughter.