During World War II
My grandfather wrote for Stars and Stripes,
And after the war he wrote for the local newspaper,
A job from which he never fully retired.
He used to tell me that,
For the writer,
“Every word represents a decision.”

After my grandfather’s funeral
We all went back to his house.
My cousins, aunts, and uncles
Examined rooms,
Opened drawers,
And looked at pictures on the walls.

Very few words were spoken,

If any.

On a small table
Next to the window
In the living room
Rests my grandfather’s Underwood typewriter:

            As a young boy,
            When I would spend the night at his house,
            I would sometimes wake
            To the clacking and rattling of this typewriter;
            It was like a song,
            And often it would sing me back to sleep.

I sat down and placed my fingers
On the cold dark keys,
As though I were about to type something.

But I didn’t


“Words” by Theodore Shank, Follow The Flickering Down
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