My Grandfather

Stepped into his wife’s shoes
The day she died.
Learnt to make soda bread.
Took the smallest one, my father, to sleep in his bedroom with him
The first year after.
Squeezed the boys orange juice
Before school in the morning.

I never knew him in his prime.
His spark and sight dwindled as I grew.
I covet the memories of my older cousins
Like jewels through a shop window,
Nose pressed against a room I cannot enter.

A few years after Grandpa died
I asked my father
If he still missed him.
He laughed
And then looked very old.
And I felt young and foolish
Not to know.

Someday I will be the one who hasn’t stopped missing.
Couldn’t.
And perhaps my children will fail to notice
How much my father always loved fresh orange juice.

 

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