A Song For My Grandfather

I will continue telling this story as many times as it takes

Until I can get it out of my head

This is the story of my grandfather’s death

And I will begin at the end

 

They heard the heavy breathing in the other room stop

A chorus of machines providing a

Funeral dirge

To see the body of a man

Resting peacefully for the first time in months

Not believing their own eyes

They grabbed a nurse from the hall

Poor son of a bitch

Still had the smell of med school on him

They acted surprised at

The answer they already knew

To the question they didn’t want to ask

 

You don’t know what someone will say

When you tell them their loved one has died

But you will find

Silence

Can be deafening

This is something you can not be taught

But you must learn

I pray none of you ever do

 

You will learn  that

There are two ways you can cry in public

You can find a quiet corner

No one can see

Sing your sorrow into a world without judgement

Or you can give up

Collapse where you stand

Rip your sorrow from your body

Through your eyes

Weep

Neither is more appropriate than the other

Neither is any easier

 

The diagnosis was brain cancer

Fuck that, right?

What is brain cancer to a god?

You can’t hurt a man who’s been through war

 

For the first operation they scanned his brain

A robot divided his personal supercomputer into a grid

A cross hatched abscess in a haystack

Divided horizontally and vertically

For another robot’s map

One with a metallic blade for an arm

That would find and remove his imminent death

 

The first operation, was unsuccessful

The second operation, unsuccessful

The third, unsuccessful

The fourth; Now this would be a man’s job

No machine could understand the human brain

This time we would go in and remove it by hand

This time we would be successful

This time we would have something to show

 

He came out of that fourth operation with nothing

Nothing but a question mark shaped scar

Framing the side of his face

Constantly asking the question

Why? Why? Why?

And I didn’t have an answer for him

I didn’t even understand the question

Not until they found a tumor in my father’s liver

Now I understand why he asked it

But I still don't have an answer