When we lived with my grandfather,
He did community work as Santa Claus.
This was before the stroke, and
His garage was full from top to bottom
with donated gifts for sick children
I would walk through the stacks of
trains and Barbie houses with reverence
and envy. I wasn’t sick, so I couldn’t have these toys, even though they were so very close.
Once a year on Christmas he would let us rifle through and pick out one toy from the Santa Claus garage.
One year I got a wooden train set,
the next a board game with little
plastic cherries you put in little
When my father grew ill and yellow
from alcohol, he didn’t get a kiss on the cheek and a toy from the garage.
Instead my grandfather kicked him and his whole family out of the house and into the dirt.
My father died shortly after that.
My grandfather never came to his funeral.
And now my grandfather is dead. I want to remember him fondly as the man with the toy garage but all I can do
is think of my father as a little sick kid,
while Santa Claus flipped him
But at his memorial they’ll say
oh what a nice guy
oh what a man full of grace
oh how much good he did
oh how he abandoned us,
oh how he abandoned we.