blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1




It was a Campbell, a great one, who was laid
out on ice the way they did, then rose again
from her own wake in her home, For the love
of Christ, get me out of here. I'm freezing
my ass off
, that was what it became when we
listened as adults to this story we believed
when we couldn't believe the other of Christ.
No one expected the same legerdemain with
my father, down for the count, dead at ninety-five,
but my mother still turns heads now when she
asks him what he's doing, Come sit down,
this isn't bad this time
, speaking of
the noodles and sauce. Or in the morning,
when her mind is freshest, she'll ask,
Did you get it straightened out with Dad
last night?
And I'll lower my head the way I did
to lie about mass or some sacrament I owed
something to, and say, Yes, yes I did, Mom.
And then I'll ask her to grip the rail and roll
slightly so we can wash this here and now,
apply the gel to her backside, the bedsore
healing now, no longer like a sick peach, some
damaged skin you'd show to the doctor and ask,
Is this something to be worried about?
She says, I'm fine, don't worry about me. Look
to your father there. Is that him there?

Yes, yes it is, back from the crypt, back from
the inching down, the striped suit and the gold tooth,
(did they leave the gold tooth in, the shysters?)
and the well-polished shoes with cleats.
The pants crease still pressed, the spit-shine
all glow, the cleats nailed in, the moustache
so finely trimmed. That's all of him.  

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