The Man with the Smile, and the Flower in His Hands

Thu, 02/12/2015 - 12:08 -- JJAM

Today I’m going to talk to you about my grandfather

His name is Obuelito

Well actually it’s Robert but that’s what we call him

He’s from Panama

And his parents built the Panama Canal

All by themselves

With the help of some minor peasants

But he owns that Canal

That’s what he told me.


But this is a story about my grandfather

His name is Robert

He has a son and a daughter

And a whole bunch of grandchildren

I am one of them


Obuelito is a big man

Not really in size

He’s shorter than my father

But he’s big in personality

He had this laugh

I mean has

It’s loud and fun

I haven’t heard it recently so it’s hard to explain

But he had-

I mean has one of those laughs that when you hear it

You can’t help but join in


Obuelito smile was big too

I mean, it still is

His teeth are so big

I used to be afraid that he would eat me

His teeth aren’t perfect

But his smile was-

I mean is



One time Obuelito went to Africa

And before you say anything

I am fully aware that Africa is not a country

But I don’t know which ones he went to

I just know he went to that general area

When he came back he brought a lot of things

I got a cool blue outfit from there

It held the smiles of the people he met in the

Gold thread used to make it

That’s what he told me


But what he failed to tell me is

Africa also gave my grandfather cancer

It was a surprise gift in one of his bags of souvenirs

He didn’t keep the receipt so there was no way to return it

They tell me that it wasn’t Africa who gave it to him

They tell me that he already had it before he left

But I know Obuelito

His head was shiny,

And he liked to make candied apples

And he wasn’t forgetful

Obuelito wouldn’t forget that he had cancer

So I know it was Africa



Obuelito didn’t recover

But he never let on that he was getting worse

Or maybe I’m just getting forgetful

This isn’t really a story about my grandfather


This is a story about my father’s father’s granddaughter

It’s about a little girl who remembers loving a man so much

She would enjoy going to his house even when there was nothing to do

This is a story about a little girl who is still lost in a great big house

White carpet

A bench swing in the back

She knows every inch of this house but can’t remember then man who owns it

She knows that she loved his laugh

But if you were play it she wouldn’t recognize it

She knows she loved his jokes

She loved his cooking

But cant tell you anything funny he’s ever said

Can’t tell you how anything he’s ever made tastes

This is about the little girl I lost several years ago



When I think of you, I think of you smiling

I think of the candy corns you always had on the table

I think of the barecue, camping trip at the church

I think of everything you’ve done

But I can’t think of you



When you left, I think a part of me followed you

She took a part of my certainty

Everything I remember of you is

I think

Everyone remembers the things you did

But me



You were a man of God

And to be honest, I hated him when he took you away

I didn’t think it was fair that you had to leave so soon

I wished he would have shared you for a little longer



I like to think about you garden

And how pretty the flowers were when they bloomed

And how I always picked the best ones first









This poem is about: 
My family


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