I’ve been working on this off and on (mostly off) for about a year… lol this is revision 9000ish and I still feel like it needs more polishing. What’s that saying again…? Poetry is never complete, only abandoned…? Something like that :)
His smile is reflecting in my mirror.
He told me nothing is wasted, nothing ever.
He, my Granddaddy, child of the Great Depression,
diver of dumpsters.
One day, he forgot me. And he asked,
except I couldn’t explain my love for him
Like I couldn’t explain red to someone who’d never seen
But at the last time we met, he knew me just
for a moment.
I didn’t believe he was gone until I saw him
In a freshly pressed suit, fingers clean and manicured.
Because in my memory,
he nurses plants in ice cream pail pots
Watered by the rain he saves while dusting off apples
Fresh from the rubbish bin because
They were just bruised but perfectly edible.
Over there, the roses sway.
I imagine them, ladies in rainbow dresses
Wanting to dance with the handsome soldier
I’d seen in gray, faded pictures.
And he caters to their whims
With big rusty scissors, cutting banana peels because
The ladies need potassium like
Little girls need lollipops with bubble-gum centers.
I can see his eyes, his story in dark blue irises
A contrast to negro skin.
Some days, his white hair haloes in the wind, shifting like
The clean sheets he hangs on the line
Right in front of grandma’s lemon trees dangling
Heavy with fruit. Tomato vines he’d planted last year,
By spontaneously burying whole cherry tomatoes,
lean like a riotous crowd of co-conspirators
around the back house porch my great grandfather built,
and there we share our bounty, hiding ice cream coated smiles
from Grandma because her cookie stash is too well-hidden today.
Then as he waters, I sit at his feet, where even the concrete is green and
The city of angels can’t interrupt us here where he stoops
With the lines of his palms rooted in soil.
In loving memory of William Cook (1922-2010)