In this memory, you are hugging me with all your strength and I feel your tears drop on my shoulder.
Your gray shirt gets wrinkled from everyone’s embraces, and I know you’ll never iron it.
Your loving eyes give me a warm glance, and since I’m only seven, the tears you try to hide from me go unnoticed.
Now I know that your unconditional love was like an eternal light, but then I knew nothing.
Even though I couldn’t sense it then, this was one of the most memorable moments of my childhood with you, and then you said goodbye; just like any other goodbye; for my sake.
I knew nothing, and I sensed nothing.
You buttoned up my coat, put on my scarf, and kissed me.
I wish I knew then that this was the end, and now I wonder how you felt knowing, but I was spared the pain.
As you closed the door, I heard the dog barking, like he knew too.
My parents and I left the hall; we walked and walked until we got to the car, and left forever.
Now, all I remember is your gentle smile, those kind eyes, and the tender goodness that shone through them.
I remember your virile scent, and your soft gray hair.
Just as a small diamond is precious, so is my vague memory of you.
Now, you are dead; and that which I want to know will never be revealed to me.
However, one thing I know: that your love was blind, and though your soul has left this earth, that love has not.
[This poem is about the last time I saw my paternal grandfather (may he rest in peace.) He knew that he would never come to America; I did not. He died in Kiev, Russia on April 30, 1990.]