Grandfather

The machine brought me here
to a familiar street
I stand outside that house
a building that
to me
has always been full of darkness
and I’m surprised by how bright
how new
how clean it looks

The comforting feel of the knife
smooth and cool against my flesh
reassures me
as I walk up the path

Theory talks about the Grandfather Paradox
but I don’t believe it
what can the universe do?
strike me down with lightning?
propel me back to the lab?
I have travelled through time
and no theoretical restriction is going to stop me

I walk up the path and past the apple tree
strangely small
newly planted by Pops
then I slip down by the side of the house
and into the always open back door

As I enter the kitchen
Pops jumps to his feet
I pull out the knife
and he stops

Unusually for him
he has no words
no slick excuses

Words fail me too
not a day has gone by
when I haven’t thought about what I would say
how I would accuse my abuser
but now
here
there is nothing to say

Before he has a chance to move
I strike
the blade sinks deep
and his face goes slack
the way mother’s face went slack
that day so long ago
(ago?)
when I told her
(tell her?)
what Pops had done

The young faced
smooth faced
two faced
abuser
slips silently to the floor
blood pooling around him

As his heart flutters and slows
I feel my own heart fading
like the propellers of a plane
struggling to bite in air too thin

I wonder if
in that far off old people’s home
mother’s heart is also fighting
straining to beat just one last time

My blood drenched hand seems to phase out of existence
flesh becoming transparent
while
on the floor
Pops gurgles once more
and
as three hearts beat their last
I know that he will not touch my unborn mother
that he will never come to my bed
to break the child that I was
and
in that last instant
before all is remade
I
smile

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