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)


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