Grandpa

May 8, 2012
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Two white chairs
sitting side by side,
soft breeze, soft voices
dancing through the peach orchards

and you told the story
with the Chinese I didn’t fully understand,
distant eyes that couldn’t stop remembering

those mornings huddled over the kitchen table
surrounded by the darkness
as your mother
fumbled to pack sticky rice
and when she crept open the door,
hardened expression for yet another day,
you stepped out first
tiptoeing behind the house,
and she solemnly took your hand
breaking into a run for the mountains
before the sunlight crept over the hills

to hide from the Japanese, you said
and just waited all day? I said
what did you do in the mountains?
you didn’t understand what I said
so I didn’t say all I wanted
but I let you talk because you needed to let out
80 years of memories

attacking your mind, surfacing through the
newspaper scattered floor of your bedroom with your
closet emptied with
remnants of the search for what you don’t have
and downstairs are the
“he really have a problem,”
soft murmurs and mumbles
muffled by the ventilation of the stove

where you stand all day,
laugh and tell stories to who?
I don’t know, but the

scattered twenties on the glass table outside your house,
the calls to Lawrence, he’s 23, to tell him
don’t open the door for any stranger,
are strange
strange
strange

things have been lately with the
advice in the form of weak commands, and the
stifled tears with the
sticky rice and eel lodged in your throat,
bringing back memories of happier times

for me
with you in
two white chairs
sitting side by side,
soft breeze, soft voices
dancing through the peach orchards.





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