Cluck (10)

Cluck

For Uncle Clarence

Uncle, remember the boy next door
The summer we came to visit?
The Jamaican boy with the cocoa-brown skin
And the ocean blue eyes
He took that ten speed everywhere, too fast
I was only nine years old but he introduced me to yearning and danger
You lived in Buffalo then

Uncle, remember the trip to New York
Before our flight to Germany? Stories of your youth –
Prostitutes and junkies on the streets, all very seedy
Reminded me of my favorite,
Starsky and Hutch
Preferred the televised version to the
Stench of the live
You saw the fear in my eyes and promised I was safe
I was eleven.

Uncle, do you remember that you gave me permission to move to California? You vowed to look out for my mother.
You didn’t like the idea of me being so far away but you
Promised when the Big One hit, you would come and rescue me
All I had to do was find a floating piece of land, and hold on.
Somehow I knew, this was no empty promise. I loved that you called us all
Lovey
Your sisters
Your nieces

I’m sorry you were alone at the end, Uncle
You moved the pot off the fire
Even then, thinking of others before yourself

You sat down on the couch, as if to nap
Never to awaken
Except in my dreams
Where I hear your deep, soothing voice saying
Lovey, you’re safe.
I am here.
I’ll always remember your birthday
You’re always in my prayers
Hold on tight

(c) Davita Joie 2016

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