Grandpa by Nathan Blackwater

“Grandpa, I want to help,”

I cry.

“Dig here,” he says.

“Dig a big hole.”


“Why,” I say.

“It’s just a hole.”

Silence fell into hole.

As his brown eyes stare.


They looked like holes,

Bottomless and serious.

They scare me a little

Like a subterranean pool.


“Planting a spruce,”

He finally says.

 “To give us shade

Beside our house.”


I’ll never forget

Seeing the tininess

Of the seedling

And asking “How long?”


“For your children,”

He says,

Clapping me on the shoulder.

I look at him with dismay.


Many years later,

I wonder at the unrestrained

Dream of unfathomable hopes,

Of something that will never be seen.


How can he be

Deep-rooted and multi-layered

With his hands in the dirt

And so little in his pockets?


Hidden within me

Is the same Native DNA

Caring about Mother Earth

Even when I can’t see.


Thank you Grandfather.



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