I Talk to Grandpa

Friday, July 27th, 2012

I talk to Grandpa,
but he never answers back.
Mommy says he can hear me even though he’s not here anymore,
but I don’t know what that means.
Sometimes I talk really loud,
You know, just in case.

Every night Grandma still makes him dinner,
but I don’t know how he eats it.
She always makes his plate before her own,
giving him the softest pieces of meat,
the prettiest sushi.
One time she even gave him some of my french fries
from my McDonald’s Happy Meal,
but I didn’t say anything.

Sometimes I help Grandma with dinner,
She says I have to make sure I give Grandpa enough rice.

“Moah,” she says. “Grandpa like plenny rice.”

So I give him a big scoop,
the kind that’s hard to balance on the paddle.
She tells me to grab him a can of Bud Light from the fridge
And says when I get older, she’ll let me pour him a cup.
For now, she says, I’m just in charge of the rice.

She sets it down next to his picture and prays.
Sometimes I think he smiles at her when she’s not looking.
A small smile hiding in the dimple of his right cheek.

I don’t know how to pray to Grandpa.
Mommy says to just tell him about my day,
as I watch her light the seinko and press it into the dark sand.
She closes her eyes when she talks to Grandpa,
and squeezes her hands together until they turn white.
I know this because I peeked.

I’m not supposed to play near Grandpa’s altar,
but sometimes I lay in his room when it’s hot.
I press my face against the matted carpet
and sometimes the house moves like it’s exhaling slowly.

# # #

Felt like posting the original poem. Here is the 100-word version of it for Bamboo Ridge’s monthly writing contest.