Elegy for Grandpa Philip
by Mark Fleisher

Grandpa Philip
not Phil or Gramps
or Grandfather,
nothing cute
like Pop Pop
for this stolid, stoic figure
sipping tea Old World style
from a glass encased
in a sterling silver holder
was the antithesis of cute

Ride the trolley car
to the apartment with
the sunken living room
where we sat among
paintings and porcelains,
watch Canadian football
for some reason
I never figured out

Later we might
share a bench
along Ocean Parkway
and I call out
the makes
of passing autos
in a time before
cookie cutters
rendered lookalike cars
DeSotos, Nash Ramblers,
even a Hudson Hornet—
I know them all

A lonely, tired man
in his last days,
snow-white hair finally gray,
a farewell breath in early autumn
We bury Grandpa Phillip in Queens,
in the plot in Mount Hebron Cemetery
next to Grandma Clara
where my Mom and Dad
would later rest

Following tradition, a year later
we unveil his headstone,
placing small rocks
atop the granite marker,
assuring Grandpa Phillip’s
memory lived, protected
from demons in his final journey

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