I hold a buckeye in the rain. Its wrings, wrinkles
on my grandfather’s face at Bonticou Crag where we watched
leaves turn across the state. He only saw
the high cliffs, the hard steel gate.
My grandfather was colour-blind: no red for fall
or open lips. He never mentioned love, but spoke
in grey-blue clips: the dull sharpness
of war, that ever slamming
door. He spoke of guns and bombs.
He didn’t know when he enlisted
what he’d see and what he wouldn’t: the red
of blood and sunsets. After
he died, there was no gallant drum
to count the bullets
he had shot. I’m glad his eyes are numb
to those colourless blinding gods.