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Ai Ogawa

(21 October 1947 - 20 March 2010 / Albany, Texas)

Grandfather Says


"Sit in my hand."
I'm ten.
I can't see him,
but I hear him breathing
in the dark.
It's after dinner playtime.
We're outside,
hidden by trees and shrubbery.
He calls it hide-and-seek,
but only my little sister seeks us
as we hide
and she can't find us,
as grandfather picks me up
and rubs his hands between my legs.
I only feel a vague stirring
at the edge of my consciousness.
I don't know what it is,
but I like it.
It gives me pleasure
that I can't identify.
It's not like eating candy,
but it's just as bad,
because I had to lie to grandmother
when she asked,
"What do you do out there?"
"Where?" I answered.
Then I said, "Oh, play hide-and-seek."
She looked hard at me,
then she said, "That was the last time.
I'm stopping that game."
So it ended and I forgot.
Ten years passed, thirtyfive,
when I began to reconstruct the past.
When I asked myself
why I was attracted to men who disgusted me
I traveled back through time
to the dark and heavy breathing part of my life
I thought was gone,
but it had only sunk from view
into the quicksand of my mind.
It was pulling me down
and there I found grandfather waiting,
his hand outstretched to lift me up,
naked and wet
where he rubbed me.
"I'll do anything for you," he whispered,
"but let you go."
And I cried, "Yes," then "No."
"I don't understand how you can do this to me.
I'm only ten years old,"
and he said, "That's old enough to know."

Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003

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Comments about this poem (Grandfather Says by Ai Ogawa )

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  • surya . (6/18/2009 7:22:00 AM)

    what a pathetic story! nicely and vividly expressed. i hate such people. we need lessons in moral values.
    voted 10
    surya (Report) Reply

  • Melvina Germain (1/22/2007 8:24:00 AM)

    How very sad, a very sad picture painted here. Sad memories brought forth from a devistating time in childhood years. It takes a great deal of courage to write about this experience. Excellent poem---Melvina--- (Report) Reply

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