by Jay Dubberly

Published in Issue No. 294 ~ November, 2021

my grandpa told me

if I closed my eyes, he could skip a rock

all the way across the lake, but I lacked

the fortitude at such a young age, & every time

I opened my eyes I’d see the rock succumb

to the surface—its ripples dying in its past.


I’ve only been back to the lake once since he passed—

I closed my eyes, skipped a rock & when I opened them

the rock kept going, but my grandpa wasn’t there

to prove his point, so I rooted for gravity

as it warred against inertia & closed my eyes again,

this time with no intention—skipping along


the shadows projected against the allegory of my eyelids

I saw my grandpa with all his grit & determination—

he was going all the way across the lake!
Once he made up his mind, that was the end of that.
Talking to the man after he’d dug his feet in
was like talking to stone, but when I opened my eyes

the memory of him succumbed to my consciousness
intermittently surfacing in the day-to-day
the ripples of the man interrupting my present.




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A. Jay Dubberly is a writer & educator living in the Little City. Jay teaches writing & film courses at various colleges throughout Vermont. He is the founder of Zig Zag Lit Mag, a hyper-local community publication. Recently, his poetry has been featured in After Dark, Bloodroot, & Meat for Tea.