Something About Family

April 16, 2017
8 articles 0 photos 2 comments

My grandfather is a poet
He writes of a man’s purpose, his ergon
And of the group home he once ran, for parents who didn’t understand the curse, or possible gift of their child’s disability
He said there was a boy who floated, despite being palsied
And who yearned for a man with a beard like snow
Sometimes when I dream of things that I’ve never seen, his poems come alive,
Full of demented calliopes and pills that are every color of the rainbow
And someone’s hands interlocked with another’s

My other grandfather, the father of my mother, is an artist
He paints crisp lines, diamonds like the eyes of a cat in the night
And sketches with an open palm, shows stories of long ago
When my mother was nothing more than a child, unaware of how her father drank himself to sleep
Every single night
He couldn’t afford champagne or cognac, so most nights it was cheap beer that tasted like sawdust
And soon he’d become sawdust, floating on the wind, if not for that tiny voice inside
That said

My grandmother is a healer
A woman understood by few, the type to stay up late worrying
Over pain and personality, over dreams and nightmares
She can heal with a touch of the hand and a handful of pills and
Once worked hard to create a world free of the three letter disease no one wants to talk about
She’s always been there
Yet she still doesn’t know how important she is to me

My father is a lawyer
He advocates for the voiceless, raises himself up when there’s no one there to speak out
Loves no matter what, jokes like the father he is until the break of dawn
He raises me up with heavy hands and a heavier heart
Because we have our share of fights, our screaming and kicking, our pinning and pushing
But never has my love for him wavered

My mother is my world
She’s held many jobs, from unofficial pet store employee at eleven to director of a nonprofit for children in foster care at forty-five
Nowadays she works hard, keeps her eyelids from sagging through long days and longer nights
Raising her voice for children with no one to call mother
And I call her that with pride, because at the end of the day,
We would be nothing but stardust
Without our mothers

My grandfather is a poet, and I’m one, too
Bridging the gap of generations with words
He taught me how to write through a book sent in the mail
And I’m still grateful, looking over the tattered pages of his poetry until the sun catches up to the moon
He taught me how to live, how to write
My grandmother taught me how to heal
My father taught me how to speak out
And my mother taught me
To be myself.

The author's comments:

Family is a curse and a blessing.

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