Story with My Grandfather

My grandfather growled 
Outside the window
Of the parked Corolla in the garage. 

I parked myself inside
Because we fought the week before. 
My parents had separated
And I took my mother’s side. 

Dad’s father lawyered for him
Who brought me to school,
Who was with me and brother daily
While Mom was at the office
Deep into the night.

Grandfather was by Dad’s side
In the court
When the annulment was heard.

Today, his bookshelf stands
Outside my bedroom 
In the house he built fifty years before.

In grandfather’s garage,
He once parked himself
Waiting for me to come out
Like a book from the shelf 
He picked for his use. 

I am not a book
And my grandfather wasn’t
A book I could just open

But I could read his eyes
And all the stories they kept. 
I had grown up in his house.
My mother lived there
Until separation.

The Corolla doors opened
After I gave in.
The shelf outside
Is as open as my memory

Of my grandfather
Waiting outside the car
Then embracing me.  

He is now dead
I am a book
He cradles.


Niccolo Rocamora Vitug
Niccolo Rocamora Vitug
Niccolo Rocamora Vitug teaches at the Department of English and Comparative Literature at the University of the Philippines. He is also currently taking up a PhD in Music at U.P. His book of poems, Enter Deeply, was released by U.P. Press in 2022.


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