by Robert W. Gill
Copyright - April 19, 1998
Phone rings interrupting satisfying shit
Grudginly I answer it. "Hello"?
"Hi Granny. How are you? Ah you have bad news."
My mind races to the southwest where my parents have gone on vacation.
I wonder where my brother + sister are.
I think of my Alzhemic grandfather.
I try to remember if I have a pressed white shirt.
This flashes through my mind in less time than it takes for her to say,
"Uncle Ned is dead."
I express the requisite sadness
and whisper an prayer of thanks to whoever is listening.
An eternity passes as we babble about nothing.
I ask after my grandfather
and get the report, bullets flying.
"They're taking his leg next week you know.
Gangreen they say.
You should go visit him."
It's not that I don't love my grandfather.
It's just that I perfer the illusion of my
memory over the reality of today.
"He's gaining weigh again and in good spirits."
I remember him as a grumpy old man but
I suppoes that's because he always was one.
I think he loved my grandmonther but I may
be pushing a storybook tale upon their lives.
He was a hardworker, a strong determined man.
Always doing what was needed but rarely showing anything more.
"He'd love to see you."
He didn't know me the last time I saw him.
Lying in bed, staring past the ceiling into space.
A part of me died that day, the part that was my grandfather.
It feels strang to talk of him as if he were already gone.
If the stories told me are true he is happy, if weak.
Think's he's in the army still, recovering after the war.
Grandmother says a lot of his old prejudices are gone.
He'll even eat oatmeal now.
He laughs with the boys, plays cards, eats like a horse.
Yet to me his is dead.
The wake is done,
the coffin closed,
the sermon said,
the body lowered into the cold dark ground
next to great grandparents I remember
but barely knew.
I wish to cry but can't.
Tears do fall from my eyes at times but not for this.
Maybe a part of me knows he still lives.
Another minute of nothing,
a quick shot of guilt
and I'm off the phone.
As I return to the throne
this single thought echos in my mind
Who the hell is Uncle Ned
and why do I care?