When I Came Across a Peculiar Man MAG

By Marcus P., Roanoke, VA

I came across a man today,
who had a familiar scent.
He smelled like my grandfather.
He had that same musk
that hung around my father’s father
like fog hangs above mountains.
That same smell that
teemed with wisdom.
That same smell that
meant plenty of corny jokes, snores, and Werther’s Originals.
I half-expected that man
to bob me on his knee
and ask if I wanted ice cream,
though none he had.
I smiled at this man
and the memories he evoked.
My smile melted as
I tried to count the years
since my grandfather’s death.
I hadn’t thought
about him
in quite some time.
Hadn’t thought of when
my father, weary-eyed,
woke me up, and told me he was going to Greensboro.
He told me nothing was wrong,
to go back to sleep.
I hadn’t thought of how
the fact finally snared me
in the restroom of the funeral home
during his reception.
I stared at the mirror,
my hands still wet,
until I couldn’t take
watching my eyes well up any longer.
I hadn’t thought about the funeral.
Where I had to play Taps
Where my father’s cheeks ran wet
with salty tears.
I hadn’t thought of how
I never wanted to see my father cry again.

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i love this so much!


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