blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2010  Vol. 9  No. 2
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In My Father’s Father’s Airstream Trailer

The West-Texas Nogues from whom my line derives:
            What you begin when your mother ends is a list of things you can’t ask her.

The French Nogues, visiting:
            We have another way to say it in my country.
            We drink cognac.

Lunch is at the foldout table in our nonalcoholic household.
The metal walls are hot,
the dog bed dented and smelling like dogs with women’s names.

Over ice cream my grandfather and the old-world cousin enumerate
memorial services, our clan’s signature renewable resources:
goat milk, cabrito, the circle of corn growing over the septic tank.

I have a tourist’s love of family, of being near the more articulately faithful.

My mother was grammarian, librarian, detention master, expert teacher of
            remedial fiction.
My living uncles are all pastors.  end

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