dead wire

I visited Uncle Paul last night

At his house in Dillon, a dream so real

I was shaken upon waking

In the early morning dark

To find him gone as my mom,

Again. The soft-muffled, warm


Tone of his voice was reassuring as

The smile that framed it. And this

Was after Aunt Sukie had died, when

He lived alone. Even then he was

The perfect host, as if the effort to please

His guests could help distract for awhile

The absence in his chest, his day,

His bed—an aching hole

The whole dream of her couldn’t fill.


She was still with him (but not with him)

All of the time . . . at breakfast, at night

When he woke alone and called out,

Crawled out of bed, turned on the lights

And searched every room, hoping

To find her ghost waiting there—

In the basement, the pantry, the hall closet,

On the stairs, wherever she was at—

He wanted to bring her back

Or follow her away, leave

His charred landscape, return to verdant days.


He knew it was silly, maybe even a little strange

To some that her housecoat still hung

Behind the bathroom door. Like her hair

In the brush lying on their dresser, he clung

To her sweaters in the closet and her blouses

And coats—the aroma of her clothes—her breath

And skin held in his nose. When his legs failed,


They moved him to assisted living

Where he resided till his body finally quit.

How does a broken heart keep beating

For ten years? I bet if we drove

Down to Dillon on the Day of the Dead,

Uncle Paul would be kneading

Bread on the kitchen table

And waltzing in the dining room

In a cloud of flour dust

With that wiry haired girl of his dreams.


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