My grandfather’s gaze was steady
And defiant even at an early age.
His brother might have been bigger
And stronger, but if he dared pick on him,
He surely paid. Later, as a grown-up,
He grew plump and soft in his body,
But his eyes remained hard.
He seemed always to be looking
Somewhere else, not at the camera.
He was part of his family,
And yet not part of it.
My father, at the age of twelve,
Was already taller than grandfather,
And made him look elfin.
Unhappy with life, he abandoned his wife
And children, who were all in their teens,
Or younger, delivering a blow to their bodies
From which none of them ever recovered.