mr. lindsay’s boy albert

my grandfather is still on my mind. i remember a story he told often about what it was like meeting his own father for the very first time when he was 27 years old. he was born in 1919 so when he met his father in 1946 he had already worked for nearly 20 years in the coal mines, cotton fields, and completed 2 tours of duty in general patton’s army. he told me that although he was man at 27 years old he felt like such a child meeting his daddy. he would smile his big broad smile and brag about when he met his daddy he felt like the prodigal son from the bible. ‘they treated me like a king’ he would say. there was such pride and longing in his voice when he spoke of that reunion. my grandfather’s name was albert. his father was named lindsay. this poem i wrote for him:

mr. lindsay’s boy albert

i have thought of
him in snatches

melted butterscotch candies
taped discretely to metal lunchboxes

yet somehow he has
always been my hero providing

escape from villainous rodents &
a careful signature for leased freedom

i look in his eyes requiring
nutrient strength but am instead

confronted w/ the disappointment of
an abandoned child

they seem always beckoning tears or
conjuring spirits unfamiliar

reprinted with permission from if glory wore a hat she would wear feathers poems by wanda olugbala copyright 1997.

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