for pop

you sit
frail and curved —
in the chair that was yours;
every christmas
every birthday
there you were —
participating silently
with your smiling soft
baby blues by merely listening

but now i know your story;
and watching us all just be
was your way of reaping the benefits
of a family life you longed for
of a comfortable life hard earned

but here and now
you are misplaced
among the living —

and as the minutes tick by
your wispy grey begins to blend
in with the dirty blondes of your youth as
wrinkles cease to be experience markers
and in their place
a fresh face yet to show its age
with lines and crevices and
your spine straightens out
and you sit straight and bold and strong once more
firm and solid muscles return
arms with the strength to apprehend a boisterous criminal
and the gentleness to comfort the littlest of people
with the littlest tears —
your stature a harbinger of protection and love

but you are now a man i do not recognize
for i never knew you in the year
in which you now reside —
you are you
at 22

and you know me
and you smile
and you wait

but i know what must be done —

your granddaughter
fetches her father: your son
and we say
                            you cannot stay
for we want you to, desperately,
                                                    but as the rivers return to sea
and as a happy life brings happy sleep
it is time for you to go

without fight and
without fear and
without argument
the thinnest of smiles
creeps across your lips and
understanding flashes
behind your gaze
you say
i will go.
you say
and just like that ,
a plume of smoke —
and your chair is empty



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