The smell of fresh pipe tobacco lingered after he was gone
But memories of our time together lingered longer.
Long walks after dinner – sometimes talking, mostly walking.
Afternoons at the big dining room table that never hosted family dinners
Playing Russian Bank – a form of double solitaire.
Visits to my third grade class to tell of his world travels.
Feeling so special as my classmates sat in rapt attention
listening to stories of his life in Thailand.
Water buffalo and beautiful dancers in golden crowns with wrists so supple that fingers bending backward could almost touch their wrists.
When my grandfather visited, I was important – someone who mattered.
Not just at school but at home.
When my grandfather visited, his son stopped drinking for a while.
My parents stopped fighting for a while.
We were a ‘normal’ family for a while.
My grandfather was my portal to the world.
With his stories and his support
I got to see the world
and realized that my world was not all there was.
With his quiet voice and thoughtful, measured speech
He taught me to listen.
With his never-ending encouragement and example
He taught me to seek adventure.
With his patience and kindness
He taught me compassion.
With his unfailing belief in my abilities,
He taught me to believe in myself.
Oh, how I’d like to take an after dinner walk with him now.
Slowly walking, quietly talking.
Or play a game of Russian Bank at my dining room table
(that has hosted many family dinners.)
Alone together again.
© Kalen Kingsbury 2017
Prompt for Day 10
Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that is a portrait of someone important to you. It doesn’t need to focus so much on what a person looks (or looked) like, as what they are or were. If you need inspiration, here’s one of my favorite portrait poems.