The Painted Rock

I hadn't been to the painted rock
for many years; not since
a retirement's worth of cigarette smoke,
the rattle of his respirator,
the wheezing of his failing lungs
had left me with nowhere else to go.
The rock was bald and white and rounded:
the weathered skull of a buried giant
webbed by the school's graffiti chronicle.
I knew that my grandfather's name was there,
hidden by the layered paint,
but where it was exactly, I couldn't say for sure.
So I scratched his name through the flaky layers.
It glimmered in the foggy light,
until next year, I supposed,
when the paint would blot it out again.

The End

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