Paaw hobbles in the house,
slightly crooked gait trailing by his side.
Wrinkles like tree rings show sixty-five plus.
His flannel shirt bears sweat soaked stains of dirt and hard work;
Nevermind the Sunday, or high noon heat.
The sugar fields and April sun have eaten holes in the cloth,
They whisper working man.
His granddaughter bumbles through the living room,
Her loving glance whispers family man.
Gingerly, he lifts her up,
swings her ‘round for one good turn,
And her laughter fills the room
Like cries of festival fun from merry-go-rounds.
Forever family man.
In the kitchen I hear his voice,
My hearts stirs with subtle glee.
I smile and warmth settles in my throat,
Behind my eyes.
His eyes meet mine and a slow smile creeps to his cheeks.
Bigger, and bigger and his already-tiny eyes squint,
The deep crevices of tree rings
Have bloomed into full glory now.
I can see the warmth in his throat,
The heat behind his eyes.
I’m his daughter, too.
I raise my hands to my chest,
tip my nose downward.
My wai says I respect you.
My smile says I love you.
You return my wai,
As your smile assures me,
I’m your daughter, too.