Bent like an ancient oak with rivulets of
A simpler time
Running deep through etched lines
And leathered hands whose grasp tells stories
Of cows, and dirt, and constant work;
A lifetime of losses buried beneath the skin,
And in the earth.
Warm the way he coddles my babies,
Tussles their hair and stares
As if cradling diamonds laid bare
Against his work-worn arms.
Laughing, his eyes dance from face to face
As if he can trace the cords that tie,
That bind and intertwine,
So many generations.
Worn thin and torn, that same old shirt, those wrangler jeans,
Socks pulled up to his knees,
And a ratty baseball cap, covered in grease;
It still reads, “Hereford beef.”
And now, the ashes of a cigarette, a favorite coffee mug,
The scent of hay, the settled dust,
muddy footprints on the rug
In a quiet house,
For grandpa to win this bout,
To overcome the longest drought,
The meanest stud,
The cancer that cripples him up
In a hospital far away.