“Grandfather”

“Grandfather” (Part 1)
© 2012 by Michael L. Utley
 
The twitching thing that lay upon the bed
Was not my grandfather.  It wore his face
And smelled of him, old coffee and a trace
Of cigarettes.  Its eyes were rimmed with red
And rheumy and they twinkled in its head
Like distant dying stars.  And in that place
Deep down inside where man and mind embrace
My grandfather had lost his mind and fled.
 
Where did he go, that man I once had known?
What horrors did he see, what eldritch lies
Ensnared him in the darkness and the din
Of lunacy?  And was he all alone?
He was; I saw it in his weeping eyes
And in the tremble of his wretched grin.

……….

“Friction” (Part 2)
© 2012 by Michael L. Utley
 
The friction between
Two blades of grass
In a breeze
Is enough to
Shatter continents
The old man said
Look there—
And he blew his
Old man’s breath across the
Dead-yellow backyard lawn
Africa—gone!
Australia—kaput!
Antarctica—it were nice knowin ye!
And his bib-overalled belly
Shook with seismic tremors
Of raspy cigarette-scented
Laughter
And his age-dimmed eyes
Almost sparkled in their
Crevasse of wrinkles
 
And I grabbed his sandpaper hand
And choked back tears
The flavor of oceans
And I held my breath
Too afraid to breathe

……….

“Five Seconds” (Part 3)
© 2012 by Michael L. Utley
 
The old man speaks to me
Across the decades
Soundless words
Forever trapped in
Ninety frames of
Grainy Super-8
 
He walks away
Then turns at my
Teenaged beckoning
Hey, Grampa!
The shutter whirs
Like hummingbirds
Stealing a flower’s soul
Stealing my grandfather’s soul
The arcane machinations
Bending time and space
He is here in my machine
He is here
 
His Viking grin
His weathered overalls
His sweat-stained cap
His cologne of coffee and cigarettes
He stops
He speaks
 
I can’t hear his voice
 
Five seconds
He is alive
Rewind
Five seconds
He is alive
Rewind
 
I can’t hear his voice
 
He speaks to me across the decades
The silent film
Damning him
Damning me
I read his lips his eyes his smile
I will die soon
He seems to say
The strokes will be
Only the beginning
He seems to say
Everything will change
He seems to say
Everything but these
Five seconds I have with you
And you with me
And I am saying
Anything you wish
Anything you need me to say
Anytime you see me here
 
He turns
He smiles
He speaks
He walks away
 
Rewind

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