GRANPA JOE

Did they tear you

trembling from the only home

you’d ever known did she hold you

tight against her heart hoping without

hope that she would one day hold you

again was your father stern clearing

his throat as he told you to be brave

be a man learn quickly to be

someone else were their sisters

brothers a grandfather whose eyes

could not hold yours as you moved

towards the door as you moved

away out of the only life you

had ever known did you leaving pride

like dust on the floor weep

Grandpa Joe

I read it in your eyes as I sat in your lap and you

secretly slipped a candy bar out of your breast pocket

into my waiting hand I felt it in the way you held

my hand so tightly that it hurt afraid to let go

again of the things you loved you stumbled

over words your accent like a piece

of the past and yet for all the sorrow

there was joy there was thankfulness for this

new land this place America you stood

straight as you could when they played the National Anthem

at Yankee Stadium you held your hand hard

over your heart as though needing

to show yourself

and the world around you what this land

this place this new home meant to you you cried

for the past but loved with a stern silence

this place where dreams could be dreamed

and hope happened

Grandpa Joe I loved you so an old

man with a huge heart and a hug so hard

so tight it hurt happily I moved into your arms

feeling more a part of you than myself

How happy you would be to see the family tree

grown wide with branches spreading out

like fingers digging in

to fertile soil

my son my daughter seven grandchildren

growing grown lives happening because

of you because you came flung like a leaf

from a dying tree to live to love to raise

a safe free grateful family

– Susan A. Katz 6/25/2022 (All rights reserved)

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