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by James Dalton Byrd

The air of the sea preceded him.
He was salt spray lifted from waves
   by winds that carried the scent of spice
                  from exotic lands.

He would bring fresh fish
      and oysters.
      Sometimes wild duck
         would grace our table.

            And, always, stories of how he got them.

I remember days on the beach
walking with him,
      finding treasures that had been lost
                  by some sailor's misfortune.
The fall of evening would light his hair.
He was sunset over Galveston Bay.
      He was excitement of dolphins
                  running before the ferry.

A carpenter's tools hold the imprints
of strong hands and long use.
The tools of a man who built churches
      and a house to hold his family.

Rosewood and brass...
            now, I use them.

Some people say he was a hard man.
      A stubborn old Scot
      who had to have his way.

I prefer my memories of Grandpa.

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