Tuesday, November 24, 2015

David J. Thompson- A Poem

Something So Close

When he hands me a glass of beer

and a little plate of green olives,

I think how much my bartender tonight

in Madrid looks like my Uncle Mike,

the exact same black hair and thin face.

Uncle Mike ran a hardware store out near Annapolis

and married Aunt Donna back in ‘64

when she was just sixteen. He was a kid

then himself, right out of the Air Force

with a new, red Mustang convertible.

Their marriage didn’t last forever, maybe

a handful of years with three daughters

and the Mustang traded in for a station wagon.

Aunt Donna ran off with the guy who built

the deck on their house my grandmother paid for;

then the cops found a boatload of car stereos

and radar detectors in Uncle Mike’s apartment.

I remember maybe the last time I saw him

we were tossing a football around in the backyard

and Uncle Mike reached back and chucked one

hard just beyond my outstretched arms and over

the fence into the neighbors’ yard. Even though

it was forty years ago, I can see him standing there

hands on hips, shaking his head. Oh, shit, he said.

Sorry. No wonder I never made the varsity.

I motion to the bartender for another beer

and more tapas, but when he starts to walk

toward me, I just stare down and push the plate

of olive pits and thin napkins across the counter.

I don’t look up until he walks away, start to wonder

how old Uncle Mike would be these days or even

if he’s still alive at all, stuff a sardine in my mouth

and take a long swallow of beer when I realize

I wouldn’t even know who the hell to ask any more

about something so close and so very far away.

No comments:

Post a Comment