was never
Donald to us
was always pappy
or puppy
always grandpa
never a name
loved angels and pranks and the little wooden boxes
with painted bugs on the inside
that danced when you opened it
Mom played Luther Vandross in the car
for weeks after he died
sat in the passenger seat with her feet up
and wiped the tears from her face
my brother and I in the back,
learning all the words to her grief
I didn’t get it then
sat at the shiva unknowingly
went to the funeral without worry
didn’t cry at all
how do you explain permanance to a kid who knows only that the seasons change regardless of how harsh the winter is?
or that the leaves will always grow back in the Spring?
or that a mistake is just a mistake?
or that life goes on even if the ice cream falls on the ground?
-there’s always a promise of redemption.
if I had known how to write more eloquently then
I’d have written God a letter asking for more time
for everyone who cried at his funeral
for my Nana
who wasn’t ready to be a widow
who still isn’t
for my mother
who loved her father identical
to how I love mine
and me, eight years too young to understand
that loss means you don’t get something back
if a skeptic tells you she believes in heaven will you believe it too?
what if she saw him in a dream once at eighteen?
ten years past a clear memory and he pulled her from a threat to safety?
how strange would it be to be reminded without a reminder?
to be reunited without a yearning for it?
a moment that everyone has now forgotten but I remember is when
Alissa found the outline of an angel stamped into a penny wearing the year of her birth
every time a coincidence comes out of my mouth
I can’t help but want to call it something else
I don’t believe in ghosts but I see his eyes
whenever I ask someone if they love me
like the way he asked daily, voice shrinking to invite laughter
mine ringing, as I ran to another room
to avoid an answer
shy then, I am now anything but.
three days from a new age and wondering
if he’d recognize me today
my voice, more loud than soft
and me,
never just a name

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