Strangers With Familiar Faces

I’m short because of my grandfather

but I forget more than I remember that it’s him I’ve taken after.

To me he was a shadow painted into family portraits.

Only half real in any memory I still have of him and I together.

But that’s the danger of not knowing anything about a person

besides the fact they’re sick.

You have to wait for photos after the funeral once the sorting has begun.

Then you find the questions that you should have asked

burning behind your mouth without the person you want the most

anywhere to be found.



Today’s daily prompt Grainy reminded me of this old photo of my Grandfather and his friend from when they toured around France on their bikes. My uncle had it restored after it was rediscovered a little while after my Grandfather passed away. It was one of the first stories I heard that made me realise I’d never asked him about his youth or even his life before I was born.



  1. I can really relate to this. I lost all my grandparents early, and I barely knew them. I have just a few stories about my grandfather to put his personality together, but he is still very mysterious to me.

  2. This poem really struck a cord with me. When you’re young you never think about these things and too soon people are gone. My nan died of cancer when I was 11 and I often think of how I miss getting to know her as a adult, learning about her as a person not just ‘nan’. Great poem.

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