One day, parkouring through my uncles two story apartment,
I was drawn naturally to his desktop computer
upon which I found his OkCupid Dating profile.
I don't remember his username, Or anything about the site really,
But I remember the head-shot of a beautiful woman
framed above the desk
the sterile grey Rubbermaid totes behind me like caskets,
How they made even the hardwood floors
look like they were holding in the dead.
For my Grandmothers birthday
my family gathered at Captain Newicks
her favorite seafood restaurant.
My uncle flirted with the waitress.
I don't think I've ever gone to a restaurant with my uncle where he
didn't flirt with the waitress.
Captain Newicks went out of business shortly after that dinner
followed shortly by my grandmothers life.
the relationship between my uncle and that waitress expired well
before both my Grandmother or Captain Newicks.
I remember asking my grandmother about my Uncle.
Tarots Fool would have predicted
my grandmothers eyelids
a silent prayer before her words.
He had two children by his first wife,
keeps a portrait of her above his desk.
She was a blessing on the family
Selfless amd loved by every one.
She took her own life
Spread her wings to break free from the cage He kept her locked in.
He buried his heart in her casket,
motorcycles, empty bottles
had a third child by a second wife
who buried her heart in drugs and strangers.
Amanda was 6 years old when her mother died.
my uncles wife. Her brother josh was 3
when she died my uncle wanted to put them both up for adoption
Their mother died on the 20th of September
a week after her 25th birthday.
their mother once bought a bunch of carnations
with a dead rose in the middle
and said "it looks like I'm dead".
she took a bottle of pills before going to a chinese restaurant
went out as a family
and collapsed at the table.
she was rushed to the hospital
she didn't make it.
their mother wasn't happy
her and my uncle were getting divorced at the time
lived in the same house that I grew up in.
when my uncle told the kids mommy wasn't coming home
my mother was 17
and there to see all of it.
When my mother was 17
she had to watch her baby cousins be told their mother had died.
When my grandmother passed.
grief bounced off of my uncles callouses
ricocheted to my cousins, robbed
twice now of a selfless mother.
The tragedies in my family
have always enthralled me.
like shakespeare sonnets
I breath them into my faithless nights
tap an extra dream-catcher on my bedpost
in space of a prayer.
When The hearth-fire of our family dimmed
a tealight in my grandmothers eyes.
she could no longer crochet
one big dysfunctional quilt,
together from our families yarn.
without her needle,
I was determined to watch how our life spun forward.
The next time I saw my uncle,
He offered me a job.
Thick mosquito blinded us as we carried our sweat
with Rubbermaid totes into a blue two story home
deep in the evergreen thickets of Maine.
a tall white fan rotated slowly back and fourth
Cooling the wet patches on our T-shirts while my Uncle
flirted with the landlord
I still remember when my uncle tossed me the truck keys
the look of terror I gave him
How easy it was for him to trust
I guess when your heart is buried in a casket
you stop worrying who has your keys.
It makes me remember
when my daughter asked for my keys
I would sit her in the drivers seat
watch her pretend to drive.
I loved imagining her free
living how she wanted.
I still wouldn't give her my keys.
she would turn my car into a casket.
It makes me remember
when that little girls mother asked me to drive
My words spun portcullises
prison bars forged in anxiety
scaffolding out of latex secrets
Glued with siren smiles, pacifier kisses
denying cigarette smoke on her breath
fueling infernos in my head.
when my uncle handed me his keys without hesitation.
my religion was insulted by his tough skin.
I felt his simple kindness
like a splash of holy water.
saw in me, the devil
caging a woman like property
holding her hostage
out of fear.
when She could drive she left me
when she left me she took her daughter.
cereal bowl of pills, I **** myself
keep a poster of my mothers face
covered in bruises
behind the tiny orange bottles
to remind me why I do it.
wake up twice,
first as Phoenix, dying
second as a watcher, writer and admirer.
callouses are not to protect us from the outside at all.
Callouses harden our bodies into caskets.
Hold in all our dead.