My inspiration for “Forgiveness” comes from Verse-Love, Ethical ELA. Shaun Ingalls, a high school English teacher pursuing a Ph.D. in Instructional Design, suggested a prompt inspired by the poem, “Drift,” by Alicia Mountain. Shaun asked us to relook at something from a new perspective, try to re-encounter something we had experienced.
There are so many things in my life I want to re-encounter. There are so many mistakes I’ve made, so much time I’ve wasted on trivial things. I spent years and years busy worrying, often forgetting that things are in God’s hands. I learned to be present, to find pleasure and beauty in small things, and to appreciate and recognize the people who love me.
It was hard to choose just one thing to re-encounter. However, this memory of my Grandpa Antonio is so vivid to me. It was about forty years ago, but it feels like yesterday. I wish I could go back and change every little thing.
Forgiveness As I turn to leave, you stop me. A minute, you say – Opening the refrigerator door, Taking coins from the butter dish, Pressing silver dollars in my hand. For you, you say – Fold my fingers around the cold coins, I kiss you on the cheek and leave. I return an hour later, Call out your name, You’re not listening, Your raspy breath comes as a warning, I do not enter the room Where you are lying. I know what is happening, But cannot face it. I pace around and around Minutes like hours fall away Until my father, your son, arrives To rescue you. “Didn’t you notice your grandfather? Call 911,” he says. I stand frozen before the phone, He pushes me out of the way. Moments later, the ambulance comes, Takes you away silently, Red lights flashing – too late. At your funeral I tuck a poem – rough words An apology Into the pocket of your suit. You’re wearing a gray suit, Starched white shirt, a dark tie. Had I ever seen you in a suit before? I look down on your weatherworn face For some sign of forgiveness. Three days later, I’m in the den reading, Suddenly, I look up – Glimpse your blue bathrobe Trailing around the corner, I rise and follow to see you Standing at the stove making tea, Your eyes meet mine and you smile, I turn away and look again, But you are already gone.