AFTER GRANDFATHER. | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Short Story - Introspective Bookmark and Share


After Grandfather’s death,
They found this old photograph
Tucked between papers and

A black book of prayer. Uncle
Found it, Gran was in another
Room, he pushed it in an inside

Pocket of his coat. French he
Assumed. The women had written
Something on the back, Uncle

Couldn’t decipher the words,
But they were French he knew
And seemed quite familiar, almost

Intimate. After the funeral and
At home, he took out the picture
And stared at the women there

And wondered what relationship
Grandfather had had with her.
1916 was stamped on the back.

He couldn’t make out the name,
The ink had faded there. It looked
Like Louise. He imagined the young

Woman and his grandfather in a bed
Some place in France, away from
The trenches and death and blood

And rats and lice and dead friends.
She seemed a pretty kind of girl,
Fleshy, well proportioned, her

Distinctive dark eyes stared back
At him. He felt like a weird voyeur
Gazing back over many years. He

Wouldn’t have minded her himself.
He’d not show Gran the sepia
Photograph; it would his secret

Find, his heirloom, a small treasure
To maybe frame and keep hidden,
To take out now and then and gaze

And wonder what it had been like
And how it had ended for them
Both after the War: Grandfather

Died in his sleep, peaceful as if
Thinking of her. But what of the
Woman Louise in the photo, what

Had been her fate, her final end,
Her last day? Uncle showed you
Her once, when you were older.

It made you blush to see a woman
Thus. Then he kissed it and put it
Away and said no more. Sometimes he

Took the photo to bed with him and
Dreamed of her, like Grandfather had
after the war, no doubt, you're sure.

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