Papi - Poem by Juan Olivarez
juan Olivarez was his given name,
but to a little boy it was all the same,
to me he was papi all of the time,
and I was so happy, he was all mine.
I was the only child, he ever had,
and so very soon, I knew good from bad.
Right and wrong he drilled into me,
until early on, I started to see.
Papi worked the fields, and did what he could,
to give us a home, and plenty of food.
We did'nt have much, but no one complained,
our family stayed together, in sunshine and rain.
I don't know how he did it, but papi you see,
put a new Western Flyer, under our Christmas tree.
It was the best bike in our little town,
even the rich kids could'nt stifle a frown.
But the best thing that papi ever sent my way,
was the love that he showed to us, every single day.
While working away in the hot valley sands,
he made little toys with his big calloussed hands.
When he was supposed to be eating his food,
he'd sit under a tree, working with wood.
Bows and arrows, and yoyos, and toys,
with his pocket knife he shaped with such joy.
Then papi would take them, and present them to me,
and the look in his eyes, was infinitely,
better than anything money could buy,
looking back now, I remember and cry.
When I was nineteen, papi went away,
leaving me and my mother, one terrible day.
I stop by and talk to him, once in a while,
by my papi's grave, i'm still just a child.
5/12/10 29 palms ca.
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