To Ask You a Favor, Grandfather

by Aaron Blair

Dear Grandfather, I wish I had
a time machine, so that I could send
this letter to places where postmen
fear to tread, through rifts in time
and space. Through the rabbit hole.

How do I put it into words, the pain
you have caused, how your actions
reaped consequences long after
you had stopped living, long
after you were sick and no longer
a holy terror, hell on tireless wheels?

He watched you, Grandfather.
You beat him and he watched you
and he learned. So when I looked
into his eyes and they hated me,
they were never his but yours.
I was just a child and so I loved you,
while loathing him, because I didn't know.

You are gone now and your legend
makes its way into the future. Your
youngest son recalls with pride
how you were in jail the night
he was born. For starting a race riot
in Detroit. For letting hate roll out
in front of you like a red carpet,
like a ribbon made of blood.

I'm asking you to set things right,
to keep your fists from falling,
to keep my father from hating,
to think of all of those
who will suffer your anger.
Your half-dead granddaughters,
your beaten-down sons.


Author's Note: About my father's father. His name was Kyle, and that's my middle name. He died when I was 8. We were very close. He liked me because I was smart. You're never really smart enough to know the things that you should.

Posted on 12/15/2003
Copyright © 2024 Aaron Blair

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Agnes Eva on 12/19/03 at 04:36 AM

whoah just think of the actual implications of sending this back through time. it really reaches far poetically in trying to understand roots psychologically. it was an interesting read, economically worded (it's so nice to read something without flowery gushing sometimes)

Posted by Kristine Briese on 12/19/03 at 09:54 PM

Full of human emotion, need and misdirected pride. Brilliant, dear Aaron.

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 03/17/09 at 03:23 PM

BRILLIANT write! The last 2 stanzas blew me away!

Posted by Mo Couts on 06/02/11 at 02:14 AM

Oohh, yes, you're right--we're sadly not smart enough to know the things we should, but luckily, we're smart enough to look back on these instances and realize it. Another classic here.

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