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Periaktoi Media Post

Volume 53
Issue 2

Single Visual Art Post

Poetry Out Loud Winner - Jenna A
Jenna Azzouz


By Carl Dennis


Recited by Jenna Azzouz

If on your grandmother's birthday you burn a candle   

To honor her memory, you might think of burning an extra   

To honor the memory of someone who never met her,   

A man who may have come to the town she lived in   

Looking for work and never found it.   

Picture him taking a stroll one morning,   

After a month of grief with the want ads,   

To refresh himself in the park before moving on.   

Suppose he notices on the gravel path the shards   

Of a green glass bottle that your grandmother,   

Then still a girl, will be destined to step on   

When she wanders barefoot away from her school picnic   

If he doesn't stoop down and scoop the mess up   

With the want-ad section and carry it to a trash can.   


For you to burn a candle for him   

You needn't suppose the cut would be a deep one,   

Just deep enough to keep her at home   

The night of the hay ride when she meets Helen,   

Who is soon to become her dearest friend,   

Whose brother George, thirty years later,   

Helps your grandfather with a loan so his shoe store   

Doesn't go under in the Great Depression   

And his son, your father, is able to stay in school   

Where his love of learning is fanned into flames,   

A love he labors, later, to kindle in you.   


How grateful you are for your father's efforts   

Is shown by the candles you've burned for him.   

But today, for a change, why not a candle   

For the man whose name is unknown to you?   

Take a moment to wonder whether he died at home   

With friends and family or alone on the road,   

On the look-out for no one to sit at his bedside   

And hold his hand, the very hand   

It's time for you to imagine holding.