His father, my grandfather,
was a music man
with so much talent running through his veins
he could play just about anything he wanted to play
and he sang, they said, like an Irish tenor
even though he was born, most likely,
on the Indian reservation.

Music wove in and out of his life
braided with bottles of alcohol
that brought on a giant case of mean
and chased my grandmother,
my father, and his big sister
out to the barn to hide in the hayloft
until it was safe to come out again.

Eventually Grandma ran away
taking my father, and his big sister
across the country where she could
work in the factories like Rosie the Riveter
to help the war.
But she kept making poor choices
when it came to picking men,
giving my father nothing but bad examples
of how to be a father.

If I close my eyes
and let myself imagine my father
as a little boy
hiding in a hayloft
from his angry, drunken father
who beat up his mom,
I can feel sorry for him.

But when I open my eyes
and think about what
he might have learned,
all I feel
is sad.

@copyright Susan Taylor Brown 2010
All Rights Reserved