By Cassandra Dallett
Wednesday December 30, 2009 - 09:38:00 AM

A man 

who rose at dawn 

woke his sleeping grandsons 

warmed their bellies 

with grits and bacon. 

Served cornbread and collards 

from his garden patch 

in the neighbors yard. 

A man 

who raised 

nine children 

cared for them 

when they returned 

shell shocked from Nam 

took in their kids 

when they followed 

crack dreams 

fed them, loved them 

into good shoes and good health 

who chuckled at cartoons 

along side three boys 

always showed up at the schoolhouse 

blew his whistle and 

chased them home at dusk. 

Paw Paw 

A man 

true to his wife 

even after she passed. 

Paw Paw’s house 

your one constant 

slips through your fingers. 

From dreams 

you wake screaming 

for Paw Paw not to go 

for his house to stay home. 

But baby, Paw Paw is you 

in your hazel eyes, 

your fidelity, 

and the joy you feel 

feeding your family 

around those old cartoons. 

His voice in your ear 


and calling you to wake up  

before you miss the train.