Breakfast with Grandpa
by John Hicks
Started with rustle of ground sausage in the iron pan
and, How do you want your eggs? as he rapped one
on the metal edge of the countertop, opening it
one-handed, and tossing the shell into the trash bag.
Louder hissing as they dropped into the grease
until the sigh when he hovered pan above plates
of toast and butter, dividing the contents
with the steel spatula.
At home it was poached eggs, or scrambled
in a double-boiler, or soft-boiled in a little cup.
Grease was manly. We ate in silence. He saw me
eyeing the grape jelly, pushed it toward me,
his knife clinking against the side.
We wiped up yolks and grease with our toast,
swirling it into the center of the plate.
Less to clean up, he winked.
I knew little about him before he picked me up
to spend Saturday night on the boat—only that
he’d grown up in Arkansas on a farm. Last night
he told me his father had given each son an acre
to raise a crop for their own money.
A farm hand, a former slave, told him to plant peanuts.
His older brothers laughed at that and put in cotton.
And while they watched theirs grow, the hand had him
hoeing, carrying water, and at harvest, pulling up roots
and rolling them in a barrel to knock off the dirt.
And how he laughed when he made more money
than both of them, and how the next year, they all
put in peanuts.
At ten years old, I had no story to offer in return.
But then, men don’t need to talk.
John Hicks is an emerging poet, and has been published or accepted for publication by: Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Bangor Literary Journal, Blue Nib, Noctua Review, Verse-Virtual, Sheila-NA-Gig, South Florida Poetry Journal, and others. He writes in the thin mountain air of northern New Mexico.