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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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American life in poetry

Ted Kooser U.S. Poet Laureate

Perhaps your family passes on the names of loved ones to subsequent generations. This poem by Andrei Guruianu speaks to the loving and humbling nature of sharing another’s name.

Grandfather

Dead before I came into this world, grandfather,

I carry your name, yet I’ve never met you.

I hear my name, and know

that somehow they refer to you.

When I scribble those six letters

fast, to sign some document

or print them neatly in a box,

I feel your presence flow with the ink

stain and burn through the paper,

forever imprinted in my mind.

Late summer nights

gathered around the dinner table,

leftovers being cleared away,

faces clouded in cigarette smoke,

I hear voices pass the word

back and forth in reverence.

Somehow I know it’s not me

the little one grabbing for attention.

They speak of you, Andrei,

the one I’ve never met,

whose name I carry.

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