Monday, October 15, 2012

I miss you

A week ago today, my grandpa died of a massive heart attack while getting dressed. He was 90, and he knew he was going. We found his obituary ready for us, and cards for Christmas. I had him for 29 years, and I know how lucky I was, but it doesn't always make it easy. 

In college, I wrote a poem for him. I never told him, because I don't think he would have understood what I meant by it, and would have thought I was making fun of him. That couldn't be further from the truth, but I know he was self-conscious about the way he talked--the way I desperately wanted to talk as a girl, so I could be more like Grandpa. 

I wanted to read it last week, at the wake or funeral service, but I forgot to make sure I had a copy of it before I left for NJ, and no one in Boston had a copy to send me. That's OK, because I found it was still a bit of a work in progress. We'll call the version below the "final" version, I suppose, since I'm sharing it here. 


Granpa doesn’t eat
He eats cold cuts and cheese
on bread; no mayo, no mustard.
Granpa doesn’t eat sandwiches:
it’s a sangwich.

Granpa doesn’t take
He sits in his chair in the basement
with the Daily News and his reading glasses.
He just rests his eyes.

Granpa doesn’t say
his o’s right.
He watches basebawl,
drinks cawffee, black.
He answers the phone, “ye-LLO.”

Granpa doesn’t give
“There’s two kidnsa good
in this world--no good
and good for nothing.
Which one’re you?”

Granpa doesn’t talk
about feelings.
He says, “I’ll see you
when you’re better dressed,”
not “I love you.”
Granpa can’t afford it,
and Granpa won’t talk about feelings.

(c) 2012 Christine Whitlock

RIP, Eugene
Eugenio Luigi Nicolini
Eugene Louis Nicolini
January 18, 1922--October 8, 2012