A Letter to Grandpa
By Jackie Smith
You must know this.
I remember it all.
Paula was your favorite
But you taught us both to whittle
With your pocket knife.
"Don't tell Grandma," you warned.
We sharpened sticks
Bled milkweed sap onto the points
Poison darts for a game we never played.
You walked us to the drug store
Sat us at the counter with Cherry Cokes
While you went next door for a beer.
"No need to tell Grandma."
Our little secret.
Your breath smelled like beer
The night you held me on your lap.
We picked tomatoes with you
The pungent scent burning our nostrils
Hairy vines brushing our thighs
Leaving red welts like scars
Warm fruit, juice running down chin
Crimson, acid tears.
After fourth grade
I never wanted to see you again.
That last time.
You knelt before me crying
Writing this, you gone extinct
Me exhausted from cursing you
Is as unsettling as the kiss you
Placed on my forehead
Yet I say, "Dear Grandpa"
Because that is what good girls say.
And I am always a good girl.
Categories: Featured Poems from Our Subscribers