Saying Grace

– Matt Daly

Audio Poem

I’ve never had much use for blessings
rote mutterings over dry roast beef

at my grandparents house in St. George
Utah, three o-clock in the afternoon.

All the green shades drawn to keep out
the red claws of heat the desert sun

threw around. My grandpa spoke more
clearly with his fingers on the Chickering

piano upright in the hall. He blessed us all
with his tinkling Mormon ragtime tunes

from his teenage days bellhopping in Zion
when after hours he played in the band.

On weekends or between shifts he drove
with an older boy with matinee idol looks

to the shady caves of the highway tunnels
to drink beer. His admission of this one

transgression, this little shadow still cool
to him after nearly seventy years gone

more a blessing than any words perfected
or hands waved, even his over the keys.

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