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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

My grandfather is sitting at the kitchen table
coffee hot and black steaming in his cup
even though it was 9:30 at night
Men drank coffee then, dark and strong
when they did not drink beer.
He did not drink beer, I don’t ever remember
Or anything stronger
and I never knew if that was by choice
or necessity

Once upon a time…
no wait, he never started stories like that
it was rather,
So there was this time…
yes, that was how he did it
telling stories late on Thursday nights
after bowling league
He and his son
my father
drinking coffee and trying to repair
the damage done by ten years of estrangement

So there was this time…
and ten minutes later we were laughing so hard
tears rolled down our faces and into the cups
of coffee
— milk in my case, I was only 8
and it was my one night to stay up late
and rather than picking Saturday
with my cousins watching Mary and Bob and Carol
I picked Thursday
after bowling league
and the kitchen table with my father and grandfather

So there was this time…