Elegy to an Unknown Grandfather


i don’t know you
i’ve never felt the warmth of your hugs
you never took me fishing
or out to lunch on my birthday

father of my father
i have no other name for you
you are not grandpa
or grandfather or pop or
anything

i know of you
i know you loved my grandmother
i know you went to serve your country
i know you lost yourself
i know all the worst parts about you
horror stories of
little girls and bombs

but i don’t know you
i don’t know your favorite ice cream flavor
i don’t know if you like andy griffith
or if you believed in horoscopes
or how you proposed

i know part of you
never left vietnam
i know you came back poisoned
beyond repair
war blood flowed through you
and turned you into a monster
so my grandmother left you
before my father even knew you
you never took him to
show him where you worked
you never coached his baseball team
Daddy Jim took your place
he took my father to putt-putt
he comes to see all my plays

father of my father
blood of my blood
does war blood flow through me?
do we have the same
favorite restaurant?
do you like to sing?
how much of me
came from a man i’ve never met?
am i poisoned too?

i know you died not long ago
i do not know how
did the poison in your blood make it to your heart?
my dad did not cry--
although, dad’s don’t cry
in front of their children
did you ever cry for my dad?

my dad takes me to shows
and fancy dinners
i wish you would have done that for him

i don’t know you
but i don’t need you
i have more than enough hugs
to go around
i’ve never liked fishing
and daddy jim takes me to lunch on my birthday

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This Poems Story

This is a poem about my Biological Grandfather, who I have never met, who died recently