I believed in that moment that my great grandmother’s father was messiah.
We don’t know what we have until it is gone and suddenly I’m sure that his practiced fingers carved Dover from alabaster on a sleepy Sunday afternoon while angels came calling on him to play.
How could I have known, on those hot summer days, that those hands, stained blue from hours picking berries, had once played cat’s cradle with the roots of mountains?
I had watched, with infant eyes, the evolution of his wrinkles, which flowed from every frown and smile, irrigating large tracts of his face in a way that the Tigris and the Euphrates would envy.
I would never have guessed, could not have fathomed, that the granite of his tabletop had not been granted, but hewed with sweat and sinew from the scabby knees of the earth and carried by arms that caused the swoon of a hundred hundred ladies who would die still remembering how he smelled.
I closed his casket, nervous and suspicious that the diamonds might be stolen from his eyes, or his silver tongue taken to ease some hunger.
These final rites are mine.