Friday, January 07, 2011

Dead Grandpa, the Fauvist

The elder statesman of the neighborhood
Remembers giant elk and sabertooths
Engaging in the parkway. He recalls
Splashy bonfires from the age of ice,
Thick blue-gray sheets encroaching on the huts
His parents built from fronds and fallen logs,
And, oh, the wolves--foundation of the blues,
He tells the little children, who step back,
Hoping the white-coat men with nets will show.
He notices. He tells them of the times
He drove off fierce triceratops and saved
The vegetables for winter. Where were you,
He queries, when we carved out the first wheel,
When Og and I invented tempera
And wooden teeth and book reviews? And salt.
The kids have heard of black-and-white TV
And know that WWI preceded II.
They do not need a grandfather who laid
Great Caesar's ghost to rest and lent his ears
To Phoenix, over coffee, every time,
Until the bird was old enough for school
And snub-nosed scissors, juice boxes, and gym.
Old and burned and born again and again,
He lives the story of the Ice Age, too,
The story of true love and painted caves,
Of Artemis and pharaoh's swanky graves;
But giant elk are scarce today. Old Og
Has gone to dust, there, blowing down the block,
And Grandfather will follow, given time.

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