Great-Grandfather

by Julius Ayin

Once I saw him walking home from
the town store down the road.
A truck rumbled past him the other way.
He coughed, kept walking back.

He hunches over now, yet holds hungrier eyes
still. I heard how he stalked through seawater,
ranged rainforests for daily bread bygone. Now,
tin cans bulge in a limp bag on his back.

Rainfall drips from the roof thatch,
hangs on his hand like last year’s leaf.
The water waits. Silver, he sees
the drop. It can never go back.

 

Julius Ayin was born in Yap, Micronesia and emigrated to the U.S. in 1999. His work has appeared previously in Seven Circle Press. Today, he lives and writes in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where he maims suburban greenery in exchange for money.

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