I bear the weight
Of never holding my grandfather’s hand,
Dripping with the sticky sap of a melted popsicle,
Of never being held in his arms on Christmas Day,
When everyone was crammed into the living room
Air thick with laughter and nostalgia
Of never sitting with him
In his schooner on a sunny afternoon
And listening to all the adventures his life had held
And all that he promised mine would hold,
Of never crying to him late at night
Tucked under mounds of blankets
Whether it was my knee that ached or my heart
Of never hearing his laugh - that belly-jiggling guffaw
From across the kitchen at another one of Grandma’s remarks.
Of never witnessing the little spark in his eye,
Never inhaling the cinnamon smoke of his cigar,
Never seeing his flesh, never studying the crook in his nose,
Never knowing what he smelled like,
Never knowing if he liked ketchup on his eggs
Or blackcurrant jam on his toast.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.