A Dirty Beach
My grandfather left the earth
With a large footprint on it.
His body fell and was swallowed whole,
But his heel-ball-toe impression remained.
There was only one footprint, the
Other foot was lost while crawling
Along the beaches of Normandy,
Trying to avoid the collision
Of soft organs and hard doves of lead.
In France he left his blood
And the other five toes,
He made no footprints there,
Only lines in the sand.
In my grandmother’s face,
He left another imprint, another set of lines.
She wears them now even to his grave,
Which the rain keeps
Fresh and moist, smooth like her cheeks
Before she knew him.
My father hides in the footprint,
In the groove of the big toe,
He is the strongest of those left,
Yet still fits right in the valley.
I stand on the edge of it.
He died before I was born,
We share nothing
But a name, which my father
Could not part with,
Addicted to the look of Roman numerals
Following after me, their weight
Keeps me from rising and walking away,
Making a little print of my own.
Ben Nardolilli is a twenty-four year old writer who lives in Arlington, Virginia. His work has appeared in Houston Literary Review, Perigee Magazine, Canopic Jar, One Ghana One Voice, Baker’s Dozen, Thieves Jargon, Elimae, Poems Niederngasse, Gold Dust, Scythe, Anemone Sidecar, The Delmarva Review, Black Words on White Paper, and Cantaraville. He is currently trying to publish a first novel and maintains a blog at www.mirrorsponge.blogspot.com.