Sep 01
Maisie N's picture

Grandfather's Stories

He said that where he came from
The world was falling apart
Amidst poison gas and fiery bombs
There was no room for breath or art
When those around him questioned his existence
His identity and his culture
His home became a vaulted prison
A padlock around his heart.

He said that when he moved away
A weight lifted from his chest
But he felt some part of him was missing
Something was pulling him back
The ones he had to leave behind
Uncles, cousins, grandparents
It was enough to make a man wonder
What he will sacrifice for his religion.

 He could talk for hours and hours
Stories from before he was free
Of writing letters by candlelight
To people he knew he would never meet
To the love of his life
To the wife he would never marry
To the people he would not know before he died
But who everyone should have the chance to meet.

Then came the day when his house grew empty
And his entire body filled with fire
No room to breathe, speak or even think
Fire, not passion, but panic and fear
Clusters of bombs so deafening
Glass from broken windows lodged in his heart
Movement caused him nothing but pain
Spittting blood from his heart's broken chambers.

It was fight or flight, and so he fled
All the way to Chicago
Changed his name just to fit in
Got a job and went to school
He missed his home across the ocean
Before recalling there was none to speak of
Grew proud to be an American
Excited to start anew and fall in love.

Now America is challenging him
Asking how much longer he will stay
As he tells his granddaughter to stay in school
He wonders if she will be safe
Walks by mobs on his way to temple
Calling him unspeakable, painful names
He remembers how it used to feel
When he thought there was no escape.