I want to see my grandfather
A man I feel guilty for not missing more
A man whose hearing impairment I let
get in the way of talking to him
I would watch him sit in his mechanized chair
The ailing patriarch
I only ever knew him as A Very Old Man
Will I even recognize his smile or his eyes
In five months will I even be able to remember
the sound of his voice:
The strongest, deepest thing he could produce
out of the fragile glass
that was his throat
In my mind
He is still in that chair
His loose flaps of skin suction-cupped onto it
like an octopus
His thoughts rotate over him like a mobile –
They are blank because I do not truly know him
His face already slowly evaporating
in my mind
In five years I won’t remember what he looks like
Will I even recognize his picture
A buzzing phone followed by my mom’s voice
Letting me know
That Grandpa is dead.
I look out the window and watch the birds circle
They dip and dive
I want my eyelids to grow until they hit
I want my ears to be sucked into my head
like pennies into a vacuum cleaner.
Except I won’t be able to hear the rattling.
I want to run to him
But it’s too late.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.