Grandfather

Serrated Edge, Two Smooth Faces

I’ve hunted your absent features
fifteen years
though you’ve been dead
for thirty more.

How fast I found
the facts of your demise
and birth, marriages,
the sketched outlines of affairs,
your children
scattered like pennies
in countless fountains:
change not worth your time
but adding up to more
than you ever did.

Between these bright signposts
I searched long
to fill the gaps,
your dark decades
between major scores.

The Wyoming cattle rustling
surprised me early on.
It had a quaint, rapscallion
sound to it.  Much as pirates seem
until faced as flesh
devouring savages
who discard lives
for the sake of simple commerce.

Your descendants
learned the art
of wounding on the fly
but we found our varying modicums
of guilt, the grace
to face the ones we’d wronged,
a scouring search for change
which never can repay the loss.

Before I began looking
I’d known you shed your first life
and lived another
which led to me, but until today
I never had the proof
that your two names
were one blank slug.

Yellowed newspaper articles
of aliases and capture,
remand and extradition,
a fifteen year sentence
awaiting you

to match the fifteen years
I searched
to find the man
who taught my father:
never trust anyone,
always blame someone,
a beating is a good lesson.

 

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2 thoughts on “Grandfather

  1. I love the way you take a whole lot of fragments – and piece them together like pottery shards to rebuild a broken pot. And you have left the gaps – beautiful writing

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