A Week After my Grandfather’s Passing

I don’t remember us meeting;

I guess I always knew you.

I don’t remember ever having an easy conversation with you –

I guess I never got to know you.

 

You scared me –

That’s why.

You scared me the way a mountain scares someone who wishes they could climb one but never will.

You were larger than life,

And I didn’t know how to bring you into mine.

 

I shook your hand, though.

 

You wrote so many stories down,

But I wish I’d asked you to tell me just one.

When people hear my grandpa was a writer,

They smile and say, “That’s where you get it!”

 

Is that true, Daudy?

Did you send a trickle of ink in the flow of crimson you passed to me?

Does talent fit into a Punnett square?

Were you even talented, or just determined?

 

Am I?

Is it in my genes or is it the only thing I know how to do?

Is it in my genes or is it the only way I can search for what’s missing?

Something the others seem to have already found

Something I can’t quite put my finger on

Something I can see as Black or White as you saw things

 

Your absence has been a presence in my life for my whole life.

I wish I’d written to you then,

When you could’ve written back.

 

I wonder if you’ll read what I have to say.

Mine and your heavens seem like they’ll have books in them –

Don’t they?

Maybe somehow, up there, you can read what I’ll write before I’ve written it.

Maybe we can read each other,

And talk about it,

Not just shake each other’s hands.