Stages

For Doug

I.
I hear Papa say “No funerals in our family!
as the jour du deuil begins. Wine markers clutch
glasses that aren’t quite crystal.
Mother tells me not to stare at the large tin Grammy
holds   [clutches].
My uncle’s wife speaks of his favorite times,
I pretend to laugh at antidotes. Grammy’s knuckles
clink! against the metal when she says his name–
I follow her into his old bedroom.
“Don’t put me in a box. I want to be donated to science.”

II.
I watch as Grammy sprinkles the tin over the lake,
her hands the color of her hair–dull gray, tired.
Grammy tells me of depression, the gray hurts her
hunching body [of water]
I ask about God.
She pulls a rock from the water and tells me to
throw it back.
“God can only do what we do. Nothing else.”
My uncle blips and sinks, I make the rock
follow him.

III.
I imagine Grammy’s body in a museum,
gracefully perched on the tin–
a ballerina in impeccable rigor mortis.
The preservation on the tin for her son,
I the curator spin tales to children and their
mothers      [fathers]
of floating rocks in stagnant lakes, colors
breaking bones–
I leave her in the museum, where
knowledge will breathe her in.

 

(Written in Feb 2010)

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