My grandpa started a fire
each morning when camping
before anyone else was up. 

Walking down the road after a summer storm in Florida, 
scared of all the earthworms wiggling on the macadam.
Steam vapors rising, 
cutting the world off at the knees, 
leaving slimy glimpses.  

He’d just hold my hand and tell me they were sticks. 
But they’re moving!
              I’d yelp.
Nah, just sticks, 
             he’d say. 

Stroke after stroke eventually took most of his speech, 
but never his humor. 

Shaved head, staples running a course groove like a crescent moon across his scalp,
He’d point to them and stutter, “bu...bu...but I don’t have a brain.” 
His finger shaking and tense
when someone would yell at him for hitting into them on the golf course. 
             or so I’ve heard.  

             Deep, guttural laughing at obscene pain and fear of worms and tumors,
             Snotty bacon smoked in the steam of crackling twigs on a cast iron
             Slick fat stopping abruptly at crispy edges.
             Early morning campfires before a day of fishing with twigs plucked off                the road
             after a midday rain.