The Back-Story

The Back-story

I only ever knew him

as lonely.  Old.

No wife, no children

to visit on the holidays.


If my ball rolled into his yard

he would smile kindly

from his usual position—

bent over the roses

with his pruning shears.


When he died,

the last of his family ties

came to settle the estate,

clear the house

of its contents.


I took my father’s hand

as he walked over

to offer his condolences

and the use of his truck.


I ended up inside the house

staring at a photo

more white than black,

and was told then

about the old man’s mistake

at the wheel,


the wife and child

six decades dead

still fading slowly

into that background

of colorless roses.


DeMaris Gaunt



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